Fires happen when you least expect them, sometimes during the night. They spread very quickly, damaging property and injuring or killing people.
Smoke kills. If you're asleep when a fire starts and you don't have a smoke alarm to wake you, you are unlikely to survive.
Smoke alarms are cheap and easy to install. They are available from most DIY stores and supermarkets. If you're installing new alarms, we recommend that you choose the 10-year sealed battery type.
Smoke alarm maintenance
- Test your smoke alarm once a week. If you struggle to reach it use a walking stick or broom handle.
- The battery should be changed once a year but only if you had to put one in the alarm on installation. Choose a memorable date like a birthday or anniversary. If the smoke alarm has a 10 year sealed battery, this should not be changed
- Never take a battery out just because the alarm is sounding or you need it for another appliance
- Mains-powered alarms must be installed by a qualified electrician and tested regularly
- If you live in a large house, install linked alarms so if one detects a fire they all sound. If they start to emit a high-pitched beep, the battery needs to be changed.
Fitting your smoke alarms
- Fit smoke alarms on the ceiling as near as possible to the centre of the room
- Fit smoke alarms at least 30cm away from any wall or light fitting
- Do not fit one in the kitchen, fit a heat detector instead
- Always follow the manufacturer's instructions on the fitting maintenance.
Carbon monoxide detectors
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless, tasteless and poisonous gas produced by incomplete burning of carbon-based fuels. Carbon monoxide alarms should be installed in every room with a gas or solid fuel heating or cooking appliance. The most common sources are faulty boilers, gas fires and cookers. Carbon monoxide alarms should be tested weekly with your smoke alarms.
What to do if your Carbon monoxide alarm sounds
- Open all doors and windows
- Stop using all fuel burning appliances and turn them off
- Evacuate the property and leave all doors and windows open
- In an emergency contact your gas or fuel supplier on their emergency number
- Do not re-enter the property until the alarm has stopped
- Seek medical help if you are experiencing any effects of carbon monoxide poisoning immediately. These include:
- A tension-type headache
- Feeling and being sick
- Tiredness and confusion
- Stomach pain
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing