London Fire Brigade

Be safe in 2014 - test your smoke alarm

To ensure a safe 2014 make it part of your regular routine to check your smoke alarm.

Although around eight out of ten Londoners own a smoke alarm not everyone realises that checking whether or not it works is just as important as fitting the alarm in the first place.

Checking your smoke alarm takes no more than a couple of minutes each week and being too busy or forgetting could cause damage to your home at best, or tragedy at worst.

Running on empty

Some people remove batteries from smoke alarms because their alarm keeps on ringing. If this is the case check the position of the alarm. It may be too close to a kitchen area and being activated by cooking fumes. Steam from baths and showers also trigger alarms, as well as cigarette and pipe smoke and use of gas and electric bar fires.

Alarms prove time and again that they save lives, but a smoke alarm with the batteries removed or run down will not protect you. Replace the battery but never remove it permanently.

How often should you check your smoke alarm?

Once a week
Test your smoke alarm each week by pressing the test button on the alarm.

Every six months
Every six months you should open the case and gently vacuum the inside to remove dust from the sensor. If the smoke alarm doesn’t open, vacuum through the holes. 

Once a year
Change the battery every year (unless it is a ten year alarm) or when you need to. 

Replacement
Replace the battery in your smoke alarm if the low battery warning sounds (an intermittent bleep). It is also best to replace smoke alarms with completely new units after ten years.

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