London Fire Brigade

Smoke alarms

Smoke alarms provide a vital early warning and can allow extra time to escape if there is a fire in your home.

Sometimes called smoke detectors, you should always ensure you have at least one device fitted on the ceiling of every floor in your home – ideally placing smoke alarms in every room of your home where there is a fire risk, and linking all the alarms together.

If a smoke alarm is only fitted in the hallway, should a fire start in the bedroom, the occupant's life may already be at risk before the alarm would activate.

Since October 2015, landlords are legally required to install smoke alarms in rental properties and could face fines of up to £5,000 if they fail to comply.

Smoke alarms are affordable and can be purchased from many high street retailers or supermarkets.

There are many different types including 10-year battery alarms, strobe light and vibrating-pad alarms for those who are deaf or hard of hearing, joint smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and mains-powered alarms.

As well as fitting smoke alarms in your home, you should consider fitting a heat detector. These are designed for use in the kitchen and go off when a certain temperature is reached.

Fitting smoke alarms

You should fit smoke alarms on every level of your home, ideally placing one unit in each room where there is a fire risk.

Smoke alarms can be purchased from various retailers, such as supermarkets or DIY stores.

Avoid placing smoke alarms in kitchens or bathrooms as the steam can damage the unit or accidentally activate it. You should also avoid fitting the devices on walls as this could result in a delay in the alarm activating because of the smoke needing to travel along the ceiling and down the walls. 

You'll need a screwdriver and a drill when fitting your smoke alarms. Always read the instructions that come with the alarm for further fitting information.

Alternatively, you may receive smoke alarms fitted in your home for free, where necessary, when you request a Home Fire Safety Visit.

Test your smoke alarms regularly

Most fires in the home start accidentally and ensuring you have working smoke alarms in your home will provide a vital early warning for danger. That is why it is important and essential to test them regularly to make sure they are all in good working order.

  • Change the battery if it starts to beep on a regular basis.
  • Never disconnect or take the batteries out of your alarms.
  • Do not try to replace the battery on a 10-year or long-lasting smoke alarm.

When was the last time you checked if your smoke alarms were working?



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