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Wake Up Get A Smoke Alarm


What is a smoke alarm?

Smoke alarms, or smoke detectors as they are sometimes known, are small devices, about the size of a hand. They are fitted to the ceiling and are able to detect fires in their earliest stages and sound a loud warning alarm. This alarm can give you those precious few minutes of warning time which will help get you and your family out safely.


Choosing a smoke alarm.

There are many types of alarm on the market and they cost from around £5. You can buy them at most DIY, hardware and electrical shops and some supermarkets. Always look for an alarm which conforms to the British Standard. This means that the alarm has achieved a standard acceptable to the British Standards Institution (BSI). Smoke alarms should meet BS5466 Part 1 and will carry the well-known kitemark.



Should you fit more than one smoke alarm?

If you live in a flat or bungalow, one smoke alarm should be enough to provide you with early warning or fire. If your home has more than one storey, it is best to fit an alarm on each floor. For extra protection you can fit alarms in any room where you think a fire may start, eg the lounge or bedroom. Do not fit an alarm in the kitchen or bathroom, as the steam or cooking fumes may trigger the alarm. Cigarette smoke will not normally set off an alarm. In some cases you may be able to link more than one alarm together so that it one senses smoke they will all sound an alarm. You should check with an electrician before trying to link the alarms yourself.



Where to fit your smoke alarm.

Smoke alarms are simply screwed into the ceilings and should be fitted as close to the centre of the room as possible, but at least 30 centimetres (12 inches) away from any wall or light fitting. You should always make sure that your alarm is fitted in a place where it can be heard throughout your home - particularly when you are asleep. If your home is on one level, you should fit the alarm in the hallway between the living and sleeping areas. If your home has more than one storey, the best place to fit it is at the bottom of the staircase, although for extra protection you should consider fitting a second alarm on the upstairs landing too.



Looking after your smoke alarm.

Smoke alarms need very little maintenance. A few minutes of your time each year will ensure that your alarm is working and could help save the lives of you and your family.

* Once a month
You should check the battery by pressing the test button. Test the sensor by holding a recently extinguished candle or taper under the alarm.

* Once a year
Change the battery in the alarm. Make a note of the date of the change. Vacuum the inside of the alarm to ensure that dust isn't blocking the sensor chamber.



Smoke alarms for people with a hearing impairment

Many people whose hearing is not severely impaired are still able to hear a conventional smoke alarm. It is a good idea to link two or more alarms. This way smoke detected in the living room will set off another alarm in the bedroom. An electrician will be able to advise you about linking the alarms.

For people who would not be able to hear a conventional smoke alarm there are special devices available which make use of a vibrating pad or flashing light instead of the auditory signal. The vibrating pad alarms are particularly useful for blind-deaf people.



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