Smoke Alarms Guidance

Smoke Alarms Guidance
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Many people killed in house fires are asleep at the time.

A smoke alarm will wake you up and give you vital extra time to escape. Costing from as little as £5, there really is no excuse for not having a smoke alarm in your home. You can get a free smoke alarm and a FREE Home Fire Risk Assessment by booking a Home Fire Risk Assessment but if you want to choose your own, get clued up with our advice.

Did you know…?

  • A smoke alarm could save you in a fire.
  • 90 people die each year because their smoke alarm is not working.
  • Most fires start when people are cooking.
  • Every 3 days someone dies from a fire started by a cigarette.
  • Broken electrics start about 7,000 fires a year.

Make your home safe guidance leaflet >>

How to choose a Smoke Alarm

  • A smoke alarm is a warning device that detects smoke at the earliest stages of a fire. When it detects a fire, it will make a piercing noise to alert or wake you.
  • Smoke alarms can cost as little as £5 and are available from DIY stores, electrical shops and many supermarkets and high-street retailers.
  • There are two ways that smoke alarms detect fires. Both types are effective but there are some differences.

Ionisation Alarms

These alarms are the cheapest and the most widely available from most supermarkets, DIY stores and other high street retailers. They are sensitive to free burning fires e.g. chip pan fires.

Optical Alarms

These are more expensive because they are more effective at detecting slow burning fires such as overheated electrical wiring. They are less likely to go off accidentally or when you're cooking, and are best for ground floor hallways or for homes on one level.

If you are installing more than one smoke alarm, you may want to consider having one ionisation and one optical alarm for the best protection. However, whichever model you choose, look out for one which has a British Standard Kitemark symbol which indicates that the detector is an approved model.

Living in Rented Accommodation?

Landlords are not legally obliged to fit smoke alarms. Your safety is your own responsibility and if you move, you can always take your smoke alarm with you!

Simply call 0800 555815. Further advice and guidance is available at

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