How many smoke alarms do you have?

6 April 2017 Posted by


Latest fire statistics reveal that one smoke alarm may not be enough to provide you with the best chance of escaping a fire in the home.

It’s clear that most people know a working smoke alarm can save lives by providing those vital few seconds needed to escape a house fire. But, despite the majority of homes (88%) having at least one working smoke alarm in their home, smoke alarms alerted householders to a fire in England in only a third of cases. The most common reason a smoke alarm failed to activate was because the fire was outside its range.

For this reason, the Fire Kills campaign and Cornwall Fire, Rescue and Community Safety (CFRCS) Service are encouraging people in Cornwall to have a think about the number of smoke alarms in their home.

We must all make sure that we have enough smoke alarms to cover our whole home,” said Watch Manager (WM) Katie Hoskins-Sweeney from CFRCS Service, “If you don’t have enough, or they’re not in the right place, you might not be alerted in time.

 The vast majority of us now have at least one smoke alarm in our homes, but early detection and warning is vital to reduce the devastation a fire in the home can cause. That’s why it’s so important that you have enough smoke alarms and that they are in the right place to have the best chance of alerting you and your loved ones to a fire.

WM Katie Hoskins-Sweeney continued; “You should make sure you have at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home, preferably in hallways and landings. Placing smoke detectors near to sleeping areas and in rooms where there are electrical appliances could give you the extra warning you need. It’s also important to make sure you can hear your alarms from any room in the house, especially the bedroom. You can check this by asking someone to test your alarms while you are in various rooms with the door shut. If you cannot hear the alarms you should consider an additional detector or looking into an interlinked system.”

 “It’s also important to remember that smoke alarms don’t last forever. The power might work, but the detection mechanism deteriorates with time. So whether they are battery operated or wired to the mains, to work at their best they should be replaced every ten years.

CFRCS Service offers these five smoke alarm top tips:

  • Install at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home.
  • The ideal position is on the ceiling, in the middle of a room or on a hallway or landing.
  • Consider fitting additional alarms in other rooms where there are electrical appliances and near sleeping areas.
  • Don’t put alarms in or near kitchens and bathrooms where smoke or steam can set them off by accident.
  • Replace your smoke alarms every ten years.

CFRCS Service is also urging carers and people who keep a close eye on less able relatives to check that these homes have enough smoke alarms in the right places too.

And finally,” added WM Katie Hoskins -Sweeney “don’t forget to test your smoke alarms on the first of every month!

Cornwall Council cabinet member for communities Geoff Brown said: “Smoke alarms are a very cheap way to protect residents and this is important advice. In the event of a fire it is infinitely preferable for fire crews to arrive on scene to discover the occupants, alerted by the alarm, safely outside rather than still inside a burning building.

For more information, visit Fire Kills on Facebook or call us on 0800 3581 999 for free fire safety advice or to book a home fire safety visit.

About the Author

Simon, Research & Information Officer, Amethyst, Community Safety Team

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