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Fire safety in the home



Ionization – type Smoke Detectors

These detect charged particles in smoke

Optical (photoelectric) Detectors

These react to light blockage caused by smoke

Fixed or Rate-of-Rise Temperature Sensors

These are Heat detectors that react to the heat of the fire

Fixed sensors have lower false positives

Flame actuated

These sense infrared energy of flame or pulsating of the flame

Very FAST response time but expensive!

Combines Smoke Alarms(Ionisation & Optical)

These detectors are effective at detecting slow-burning as well as flaming fires


Homes should have at least one smoke alarm per floor

Smoke alarms are available from almost everywhere now from DIY and electrical shops also most supermarkets now stock them. They are easy to install and are affordable .

Smoke alarms or detectors are an important asset to any home as they give peace and mind by providing early vital warnings and allow you extra time to escape from your home

Choosing and fitting your smoke alarm

  • Any alarm you buy should be marked with a current British Standards or European (CE) safety mark
  • Always check the instructions within each alarm and if suitable to do so fit smoke alarms on every level of your home ceiling or high up on a wall.
  • Fit smoke alarms in any room off your property that may contain a fire risk but with kitchens or bathrooms fir away as steam can damage the alarm, or set it off by mistake
  • If you have difficulty with mobility or leaving your house quickly if may be an idea to fit extra smoke alarms to give you an advanced warning

Make sure your smoke alarm works

  • Test your smoke alarm every week
  • When the low battery warning operates change the battery or consider using an alarm with a 10 year battery
  • Never try to remove or replace batteries in a 10year smoke alarm as they cannot be removed or replaced.
  • If your alarm goes off by mistake never remove the batteries or disconnect it


Hearing difficulties

You should think about an alarm with a strb light and vibrating-pad system if you are deaf, a little hard of hearing or simply a heavy sleeper.

These alarms work in the same way as other smoke alarms

  • Make sure if you use vibrating pad, that it is properly linked to the fire alarm 
  • Also linked to your fire alarm you can use a pager but remember to keep it charged and more important keep it with you.
  • If you have any concerns or suspect that your system is not working properly, contact your social service team who supplied it 

Sight difficulties

If you have any sight difficulties you could place tactile indicators along your escape route. Test your escape route to make sure you feel comfortable following them.

If you have trouble seeing your alarm to test it you can place a coloured sticker, or ask your local fire and rescue service if they can provide a coloured cover.

To ensure that your appliances are switched off correctly you can fit bump-ons (also known as plastic blisters).

Checking leads regularly is important these can be checked by touch and if they are found to be frayed or faulty do not plug them in or switch them on. If electrics are giving off a burning smell turn them off and unplug them immediately.

Mobility difficulties

If you have difficulty with mobility you may find it difficult to test your alarm if so ask someone to do it for you. You can get easy access alarms which can be on wall as opposed to the ceiling.

You may also consider fitting an intercom to alert someone else in the house if you need help in an emergency

in the house in the event of an emergency.

Always make sure that you can access any aids you require such as walking sticks quickly in an emergency.

If you use oxygen

As with any pressurized equipment make sure that it is always kept in a dry well ventilated area out of direct sunlight and away from any heat sources.

Never use your oxygen near a naked flame this includes gas and electric cookers always make sure you are a safe distance of 3 metres.

If you have any concerns or need further information always contact your oxygen supplier who will be able to assist.


Any home that contains fuel burning appliances such as a boiler should make sure that a carbon monoxide alarm is fitted and tested regularly.

Carbon monoxide safety tips

As with any alarm make sure that you test it regularly

Always have any fuel-burning appliances serviced annually by a Gas Safe Registered engineer

Make sure that there are no blockages in chimney flues, so make sure these are swept at least once a year and make sure that all ventilation is kept clear.

Check every room to make sure that air vents are clear and that each room has enough ventilation in case a leak does occur.

If a carbon monoxide leak does occur Be aware of the symptoms: headaches, dizziness, nausea, breathlessness, collapsing and loss of consciousness are all signs of CO poisoning

If the above symptoms seem to clear up once you are away from your home or if other people within the home experience the same then this could be a key sign to exposure.

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