London Fire Brigade

Smoke alarms

Every home should have at least one working smoke alarm per floor

Working smoke alarms, also known as smoke detectors, are essential as they provide vital early warning and allow extra time to escape if there is a fire in your home. They can also alert neighbours to the danger of fire.

Smoke alarms are affordable and easy to install. They are available from DIY and electric shops, and most high street supermarkets.

Choosing and fitting your smoke alarm

  • Make sure any alarm you buy is marked with a current British Standards or European (CE) safety mark
  • Fit smoke alarms on every level of your home ceiling or high up on a wall, if the instructions state it is suitable to do so
  • Make sure you cover every room containing a fire risk
  • Fit smoke alarms away from kitchens or bathrooms as steam can damage the alarm, or set it off by mistake
  • Consider installing a smoke alarm with a 10 year battery
  • Fit extra smoke alarms if you have difficulty leaving the house quickly to give you an advanced warning

How to make sure your smoke alarm works

  • Test your smoke alarm every week
  • Change the battery when the low battery warning operates
  • Never disconnect or take the batteries out of your alarm if it goes off by mistake
  • Do not try to remove batteries in 10 year smoke alarms as they cannot be removed or replaced

Other types of detection

Heat detectors are designed for use in the kitchen and will go off when a certain temperature is met or when the temperature in the room rises at a certain rate.

They are not meant to replace smoke alarms, but using a combination of the two can provide maximum protection against the dangers of fire in the home.

Deaf or hard of hearing

Strobe light and vibrating-pad smoke alarms are available for those who are deaf or hard of hearing. Visit Action on Hearing Loss for more information.