Smoke Alarms

The smoke detector is designed to give early warning of developing fires by detecting smoke that comes into its sensing chamber.

 It does not sense gas, heat or flames. The detector monitors the air. When it senses smoke, it sounds its built-in alarm horn. It can provide precious time for you and your family to escape before a fire spreads.

Putting up smoke detectors is only one step in protecting your family from fires. 

How do I know if the alarm is working properly?

Your smoke detector has been designed to be as maintenance-free as possible.  To keep your detector in good working order, you must test it weekly by pushing firmly on the test button (or wall mounted test switch if fitted) until the horn sounds. This should take ten seconds. If the alarm makes a continuous loud sound for up to ten seconds, the detector is working properly. Never use an open flame of any kind to test your detector.  The built-in test accurately checks all detector functions.

Who maintains my smoke alarm?

You should clean your alarm regularly to keep the dust off and improve its efficiency.

For council houses the council will repair your smoke alarm if it is found to be faulty. If you feel your smoke alarms is not functioning correctly then contact the council.

What if my alarm goes off for no apparent reason?

The alarm could be caused by a nuisance situation. Cooking smoke (or very rarely, steam) can cause the alarm to sound. If this happens open a window or fan the air to remove the smoke.  The alarm will turn itself off as soon as the air is completely clear.  Do not remove the battery or disconnect the power. If the alarm is still sounding you should phone your local Housing Office or Repairs Service.

Escape planning!

Develop a family escape plan and Practice it with your family.  Be sure to include small children in your practice.

How can I prevent fires from starting?

Reduce the chance of fire starting in your home by:-

  • Using smoking materials properly. Never smoke in bed and Keeping matches and cigarette lighters away from children.
  • Storing flammable materials in proper containers. Never use them near open fires or sparks.
  • Keeping electrical appliances in good condition.
  • Not overloading electrical circuits.
  • Keeping portable heaters and open flames away from combustible materials.
  • Not allowing rubbish to accumulate.
  • Explaining to children what the smoke detector alarm signal means and teach them that they must be prepared to leave the house by themselves if necessary.
  • Deciding on a meeting place a safe distance from your home. Make sure that all your children understand that they should go and wait for you there if there is a fire.
  • Holding fire drills at least every 6 months to make sure that everyone, even small children, knows what to do to escape safely.
  • Knowing where to go to call the Fire Brigade from.

What should I do when my alarm sounds?

If you have made a family escape plan and practiced it with your family, you have increased their chances of escaping safely. Go over the following rules with your children each time you have fire drills, this will help everyone remember them in case of a real fire emergency.

  • Don't panic. Stay calm. Your safe escape may depend on thinking clearly and remembering what you have practiced.
  • Get out of the house as quickly as possible.  Do not stop to collect anything or get dressed.
  • Feel the doors to see if they are hot. If they are not, open them carefully. Do not open a door if it is hot. Use an alternative escape route.
  • Stay close to the floor.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a cloth ( wet if possible ) and take short, shallow breaths.
  • Keep doors and windows closed. Open them only if you have to in order to escape.
  • Call the Fire Brigade as soon as possible

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