Most fire fatalities happen at night when people are asleep. Smoke does not always wake people up but can actually put them into a deeper sleep. It can take as little as 3 minutes to die from smoke inhalation. Statistics show that smoke detectors were working in only approximately 10% of the buildings in which fatalities occurred.
SMOKE DETECTORS SAVE LIVES
Building regulations require that all new houses be fitted with mains powered interconnected smoke detectors. This is also the preferred option for existing dwellings but at the very least battery powered smoke alarms should be installed. Interconnected alarms provide simultaneous warning throughout the house and should be chosen if possible. Only install smoke alarms to recognised standards, e.g. British Standard Kitemark or the EU “E” mark.
It is recommended to have a smoke alarm in every room (except bathrooms) and corridor, with a heat detector in the kitchen (to avoid false alarms caused by cooking). As a bare minimum one alarm should be fitted in every corridor and landing, at least one per floor.
Make sure that all smoke alarms are properly installed and maintained as follows: –
- Once a week test the battery – press the test button until the alarms sounds,
- Once a year change the battery (Unless it’s a 10 year alarm).
- Twice a year open the case and gently vacuum the inside to remove dust from the sensors. If it doesn’t open, vacuum through the holes.
- After 10 years, replace your alarm with a new unit.
Smoke alarms provide warning in the event of fire, they do not prevent fires – so take measures to reduce the fire risk in your home and practice how to escape in an emergency.