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Get a smoke alarm

Smoke alarms save lives

House fires are the main cause of fire deaths and injury and you are more than twice as likely to die in a fire at home if you haven’t got a working smoke alarm.

Smoke alarms are cheap, available in most high street and DIY stores, and are easy to fit and maintain. They will alert you if there’s a fire, giving you and your family the time you need to escape safely.

Every home should have working smoke alarms on every floor. Follow these easy steps to find help and advice on ensuring smoke alarms best protect you, your family and your home.

Firefighter fitting smoke alarm

Where to put your smoke alarm

Make sure your smoke alarms meets British Standard (BS) 5446 Part 1 and has the British Standard Kitemark or PCB 'Horseshoe' mark.  

You should have at least one smoke alarm on each floor of your property. If you have only one alarm make sure it is somewhere you’ll be able to hear it when you’re asleep. If you have a large electrical appliance, like a computer, in any of your bedrooms, you should fit a smoke alarm there too. 

It usually takes a few minutes to install your smoke alarm yourself – just follow the manufacturer’s instructions that come with it. Fit your smoke alarm on the ceiling, near or at the middle of the room or hall. It should be at least 30cm (one foot) away from a wall or light. Use the screws supplied to ensure it is firmly fixed to the ceiling.

If it is difficult for you to fit your smoke alarm yourself, ask a family member or friend to help you. 

Regular Checks - Test all your smoke alarms once a week by pressing the test button until the alarm sounds

Replace Battery - Change the battery once a year (unless it is a 10-year alarm)

Replace Alarm - Replace the whole unit at least every 10 years

Stay Protected - Never remove the batteries apart from when replacing them.

Beeping Sound - If it starts bleeping contact the manufacturer.

Types of smoke alarm

There are two main types of smoke alarm - ionisation alarms and optical alarms.

Ionisation alarms are the cheapest and the most readily available. They are very sensitive to flaming fires, (ones that burn fiercely such as chip-pan fires) and they will detect this type of fire before the smoke gets too thick.

Optical alarms are more expensive and more effective at detecting slow-burning fires (such as smouldering foam-filled furniture and overheated wiring). Optical alarms are less likely to go off accidentally, and so are best for ground-floor hallways and for homes on one level.

As both slow-burning and flaming fires are common, for the best protection you should install one of each. However, if you can't have both it's still safer to have one smoke alarm than none at all.

Alarms for the hearing impaired

If you have, or someone you know has, difficulty hearing, there are special smoke alarms to warn you if there's a fire and to give you time to get out safely. They use flashing lights as well as an audible alarm and include a vibrating pad to alert you if you are in bed asleep. 

If you require one of these alarms and live in Bedfordshire call us now on 01234 845000. 

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