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Do You Have Enough Smoke Alarms?

Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) is supporting the Fire Kills Smoke Alarm Purchasing campaign this month, encouraging households across the County to consider whether the smoke alarms in their homes offer them the right level of protection.

Statistics show that one smoke alarm may not be enough to provide the best chance of escaping a fire in the home.

Smoke alarms save lives, but did you know that they only alert householders to just one in three fires in the home in England? Having more than one smoke alarm in the house, one on each level, provides a vital early detection and warning system, which could give an extra few extra seconds to escape in the event of a fire.

Gail Muirhead, West Hub Prevention Manager, said: “Despite the majority of homes having at least one working smoke alarm, the most common reason a smoke alarm failed to activate was because the fire was outside its range. That’s why it’s so important that you have enough smoke alarms, they are in the right place and they are working to have the best chance of alerting you and your loved ones to a fire.

“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 remember that smoke alarms don’t last forever. So whether they are battery operated or wired to the mains, it is important to test the alarm weekly to ensure that if the worst should happen, they can function correctly.”

To help keep you and your loved ones safe, follow these smoke alarm safety top tips:

  • Install at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home.
  • Fit your smoke alarms in the right place. 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 10 years.
  • Consider purchasing and installing smoke alarms for relatives or neighbours who may need assistance properly fitting them.
  • Do not ignore a neighbour’s beeping smoke alarm. If you hear a neighbour’s smoke alarm, check if there’s a fire. Ring the doorbell or see if there are any obvious signs that a fire may have started but make sure you don’t put yourself in any danger.

RBFRS also is also reminding residents to check their smoke alarms regularly.

To check, and ensure that your smoke alarm remains in correct working order, follow these tips:

  • Once a week – test the battery in each smoke alarm.
  • Once a year – change the battery in the alarm (unless it is a 10-year alarm).
  • Twice a year – gently vacuum over the slots to remove dust.

Check which type of smoke alarm you have and replace it when needed. This could be every 10 years or even every year.

People who are moving house or away to university in September are advised to contact their housing provider to ensure that that the correct safety measures are in place.

For further information about smoke alarms visit our website: