Updated: Sep 13, 2019
Getting the right fire and heat alarm
Having visited a lot of premises over the last year one conversation that I always try to have with my client is there fire alarm systems. The first thing to know is that, contrary to popular belief, in most domestic situations a smoke alarms on its own isn’t enough. Each building should also have a heat alarm in the kitchen. In addition to this some vulnerable people need extra support, for instance if you or a family member has a condition that may prevent or delay them from escaping your property if there is a fire. In these cases you may also need a specialist alarm system such as a strobe light in the event of a fire.
Smoke and heat alarms are vital as they act as your early warning system that could and should saves lives. Most fires at home start accidentally and go unnoticed until it’s too late and the effects can be devastating. A smoke and heat alarms simply provides you with an early warning which gives you that additional time to act and escape the building and reach safety.
Most people are aware of the need for alarms and fit a smoke alarm in their hall and landing thinking that this will be enough, for the alarms to be effective they should be fitted in any room where a fire can start. This can be in any room where you or others smoke or where an appliances is left plugged in.
You should also bear in mind that smoke alarms are not suitable for kitchens, however a heat alarms is. Fitting a heat alarm in your kitchen will give you warning of an increase in temperature caused by a fire but will not be set off by cooking fumes. In our house the smoke alarm in the hall is always going off and is fondly referred to as the dinner bell.
Finally, when considering which alarm to fit you should also think about the which type would best suit you. There are a variety of alarms for sale, battery powered alarms, mains powered alarms and also alarms that can be interlinked, so that when one alarm detects a fire they all go off together. These linked alarms are particularly important where a person has any condition that may prevent or delay their escape to ensure they are alerted to a fire as soon as possible. Obviously, the benefits of having a mains-powered alarm is that they are more cost efficient as you don’t have to keep replacing batteries – BUT THEY STILL NEED TO BE TESTED REGULARLY, AS DO BATTERY POWERED ALARMS.
So now that you have researched the alarms available and you know what alarms you might need, what’s next. In a nutshell you’re going to need a couple of hours and not much money to get an appropriate fire alarms fitted. If you’re looking at mains powered alarms, then you will also need to employ an electrician to fit them for you.
Lastly – Do you have an escape plan in case of a fire. In a smoky, scary atmosphere, it’s easy to freeze, panic and become disorientated, even in your own home. By planning and practising how you will escape with the whole family, you can be more confident about a safe escape. The details of your escape plan will depend on your home, and the people you share it with. Choose more than one route out of the building as the most obvious route may be blocked.
Top 10 tips for getting your fire alarm sorted.
1. A single smoke alarm isn't enough. Ideally you will need one in each room that may be seen as having a fire hazard present.
2. Think about everyone in the building, it’s not just about you, other people may need additional time and assistance in escaping the building.
3. Make sure any alarms you buy are marked with a current British Standards or European (CE) safety mark, which shows they are approved and safe.
4. Fit smoke alarms on a ceiling (or as high up on a wall as possible, if the instructions state it is suitable for wall mounting).
5. Follow the instructions that come with the alarm when it comes to installation– they all work in different ways.
6. Screw don't glue – if you use glue, it can seep into the alarm, and stop it working.
7. Fit your smoke alarms away from kitchens or bathrooms as steam can damage the alarm or set it off by mistake.
8. Fit a heat alarm in the kitchen.
9. Choose smoke alarms with a 10 year or long-lasting sealed battery.
10. Always test your fire and heat alarms every six (6) months. If there is any doubt the alarms aren’t working correctly replace it.
Please use this link and visit the experts, they will provide more help and advice https://www.london-fire.gov.uk/safety/the-home