Smoke alarms

Smoke alarms can provide you with a warning that can save your life. Find out how to purchase, fit and maintain smoke alarms in your home.

The effects of smoke can be devastating. Smoke alarms can provide you with an early warning that can give you time to escape and call 999.

Find out what smoke alarms you need, where to put them and how to maintain them. You can also find out about the specialist alarms, such as flashing or vibrating alarms, that are available for those who may benefit from them.

When purchasing smoke alarms you should:  

  • Buy enough alarms for at least one on each level of your home.  
  • Buy heat alarms for smoky or steamy rooms such as kitchens. These go off when the room reaches a certain temperature.  
  • Look for alarms that have a 10-year sealed battery, as these are preferred. However, alarms which require the battery to be replaced regularly are acceptable. 
  • Make sure any alarms you buy are marked with a current British Standards or European (CE) safety mark, which shows they are approved and safe. 
  • We recommend fitting a smoke alarm in your hallway and in your landing, so that there is at least one alarm per level of your home. You could also fit smoke alarms in bedrooms or living rooms.  
  • The ideal position for a smoke alarm is on the ceiling, in the middle of the room, hallway or landing. This is so that you can hear the alarm throughout your home.  
  • If you have difficulty fitting your own smoke alarm, you can ask an electrician or handyperson to do this for you. Alternatively, you may be eligible for a free home fire safety visit. You can find out more and request advice.
  • Test your smoke alarm by pressing the ‘test’ button until the alarm sounds. We recommend testing your alarms at weekly. You can also sign up for weekly text message reminders.
  • If your alarm does not sound when tested, you need to replace the battery, or if it’s a sealed 10-year battery alarm, you will need to replace the alarm.  
  • If your smoke alarm beeps on a regular basis, you need to replace the battery or alarm as above. 
  • Never take the batteries out of or disconnect your alarm if it goes off by mistake. 
  • If you have a battery powered alarm, we recommend that you change the batteries every year.  
  • If you have mains-powered alarms, you will need to contact an electrician for support.  

Some smoke alarms can be linked so that when one alarms sounds, they all go off together. This can be particularly useful if someone has mobility issues that may prevent or delay their escape to ensure that they are alerted to a fire as quickly as possible.  

Vibrating-pad and strobe light alarms are available for those that are deaf or hard of hearing to make sure that they are alerted to a fire. Other systems include monitored alarm systems that are linked to a care management team.  

If you feel that you or someone you know would benefit from these types of alarms, you can use our free tool to access advice and get in touch with us. If eligible, we will contact you to arrange a free visit to the home where we will ensure that you have the best types of alarms and support for your circumstances.

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