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 need multiple, linked smoke alarms for your property to be properly covered.

For example, 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.

There are many different types of smoke alarms available including 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.

We recommend fitting smoke alarms that come with a 10 year long-lasting sealed battery.

You should fit smoke alarms in every room

As a minimum you should have at least one device fitted on the ceiling of every floor in your home, however, we recommend you fit one in every room you regularly use as well as in the hallway.

Ideal locations for smoke alarms include rooms where electrical equipment is left switched on, such as living rooms or bedrooms.

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

Do not place smoke alarms in kitchens or bathrooms as the steam can damage the unit or unintentionally 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 every month to make sure they are all in good working order.

  • Do not try to replace the battery on a 10 year long-lasting smoke alarm. Dispose of the device and replace it.
  • Never disconnect or take the batteries out of your alarms.
  • If your smoke alarms beep on a regular basis, change the battery immediately.



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