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Take Your Smoke Alarm Detection to the Next Level

Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) is advising residents to ensure they have at least one smoke alarm on each level of their home and ensure they are kept in good working order. The guidance is being issued as part of a month-long campaign encouraging more people to fit new – or more – smoke alarms.

RBFRS’ advice comes as fire statistics indicate that although around 88% of homes have working smoke alarms, smoke alarms only alerted householders to approximately one in three fires in England. The most common reason a smoke alarm failed to activate was because the fire was outside of its range*.

With a new term at university beginning after the summer, and many students preparing themselves for independent living for the first time, RBFRS is urging them to check their smoke alarms as part of the moving in process.

Although tenants are responsible for the ongoing regular testing and maintenance of the alarms, landlords are required to check that the smoke alarms are working at the start of every new tenancy. New regulations have also made it compulsory for landlords to fit a smoke alarm on every floor of their property as well as a carbon monoxide alarm in every room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (coal fire, wood burning stove etc).

Iain Harrison, Group Manager for Prevention at RBFRS said: “Having working smoke alarms could be crucial in protecting you and your loved ones in the event of a fire. But simply having one might not be enough. 

“Please check that you have a smoke alarm on every floor of your home and ensure they are tested and working correctly. For people moving into a rented home, if a smoke alarm appears to be faulty or you don’t think there are enough smoke alarms in your home, notify your landlord.”

Here are some top tips for fitting smoke alarms in your home:

  • Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home
  • Test smoke alarms every week to make sure they are working
  • The best places to fit them are at the bottom of the stairs, with further smoke alarms on each stair landing
  • The best places to fit them are at the bottom of the stairs, with further smoke alarms on each stair landing
  • The ideal position is on the ceiling, as near as possible to the centre of the room, hallway or landing
  • Take time to check on elderly relatives and neighbours as they are at greater risk from fire, and test their smoke alarms for them 

Look after your smoke alarms:

  • Once a week – test the batteries
  • Once a year – change the batteries (unless it is a ten-year alarm)
  • Twice a year – gently vacuum to remove dust
  • Every ten years – replace the entire smoke alarm

* Fire statistics in England 2014/2015