Fires can happen when you least expect them, often during the night, which is why it’s so important to have smoke alarms in your home. If you’re asleep when a fire starts, a smoke alarm will wake you and give you a chance to escape before you are overcome by smoke. Statistics show that during a fire more people die from smoke and gas inhalation than from burns.
Smoke alarms save lives!
What you need to know about smoke alarms
- if there is a fire, a smoke alarm will immediately warn you, giving everyone time to escape
- smoke alarms are cheap, available in most high street stores, supermarkets and DIY stores, and are easy to fit and maintain.
- Kent Fire and Rescue Service provide free advice on smoke alarms – just call us (free from most home phones, mobiles may charge) on 0800 923 7000 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- these are the cheapest and the most readily available
- they are very sensitive to flaming fires ( such as chip pan fires) and they will detect this type of fire before the smoke gets too thick.
- these are more expensive and more effective at detecting slow-burning fires (such as smouldering foam-filled furniture and overheated wiring)
- they are less likely to go off accidentally, and so are best for ground-floor hallways and for homes on one level.
Other specialist alarms
There are many other specialist alarms, such as:
- mains-powered alarm with strobed lights and vibrating pads for people who are deaf or have hearing difficulties.
Fitting your own smoke alarms
- always fit your smoke alarms where you will be able to hear them throughout the home – at least one alarm on each level of your home is recommended
- alarms should not be fitted in or near the kitchen or any bathrooms, as steam or cooking fumes may cause false alarms.
- fit smoke alarms on the ceiling, as near as possible to the centre of the room
- position the alarms at least 30cm away from any wall or light fitting
- always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the fitting and maintenance of your smoke alarms.
Batteries and ‘beeping’ smoke alarms
If your smoke alarm is making a ‘beeping’ noise, this means the battery has expired and needs to be replaced immediately.
Replacing the battery in your smoke alarm
Replacement is a very simple job. Grip the alarm and do a quarter turn to remove it from the base plate.
Remember: if you can’t safely change the smoke alarm yourself please ask a relative or friend to help. If this is not possible, or you have a different type of smoke alarm, please consult the manufacturer’s instructions, or phone us on 0800 923 7000 for advice.
Fire Angel smoke alarms fitted by Kent Fire and Rescue Service
These smoke alarms have a 10-year battery life after which the alarm itself must be changed because the batteries cannot be replaced.
KFRS provide FireAngel alarms which have a large test button in the centre. This can also be pressed to silence an alarm that is chirping or has had a false activation. If your Fire Angel alarm is having regular false activations or chirping please contain us on 0800 923 7000 to discuss with us further and we will be able to advise you want to do.
If you have a Fire Angel smoke alarm that is less than 10 years old, it can be replaced free of charge. Contact Sprue on 0800 141 2561 for free advice and service.
If it is more than two years since we fitted the alarm or you think your circumstances have changed you may be entitled to another home safety visit. Please phone us on 0800 923 7000 when our friendly team will be happy to help.
Unfortunately we are can’t provide maintenance or service for hard-wired alarms. If the property is rented please contact your landlord for advice. If the property is owned by you then the problem may still be a low battery that you can replace yourself, alternatively you may need to contact a qualified electrician.
Carbon monoxide detectors
Ideally, you should put a carbon monoxide detector in or near every room with a heating or cooking appliance. They can be battery operated or mains powered by plugging directly into a mains socket. Find out more about the risks of carbon monoxide.