Buying a smoke alarm could help save your home and the lives of you and your family.

There are mainly four types of smoke alarm on the market:

  • ionisation

  • optical (also described as photoelectronic)

  • heat

  • combined (optical smoke and heat or smoke and carbon monoxide)

Which smoke alarm should I choose?

  • kitchen and garage: heat alarms

  • landings: ionisation smoke alarms, or combined optical smoke and heat alarms

  • bedrooms, living rooms and hallway: optical smoke alarms, or combined optical smoke and heat alarms.

How many should I fit in my home?

The number of smoke alarms to fit in your home depends on your circumstances. Fires can start anywhere, so the more alarms you fit, the higher the level of protection.

Where do I fit my smoke alarms?

Smoke alarms are usually screwed to the ceiling, or you could use a specialist sticky pad. You should fit the alarm as close to the centre of the room as possible, but at least 30 centimetres (12 inches) away from any wall or light fitting.

You should always make sure that you fit your alarm in a place where you can hear it throughout your home, particularly when you are asleep.

If your home is on one level, you should fit the alarm in the hallway between the living and sleeping areas. If you have only one smoke alarm and two floors, put it where you can hear it when you are asleep.

If you have a TV or other large electrical appliance in your bedroom, you should fit a smoke alarm there.

Looking after your smoke alarm

Smoke alarms need very little maintenance, just follow the manufacturer’s instructions. A few minutes of your time during the year will make sure that your alarm is working and could save lives.

Check the battery regularly

Always check the battery regularly and replace it when necessary. Never remove the battery for any other purpose.