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East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service logo

Smoke Alarms

How many smoke alarms do you need?

You should have a minimum of one alarm on each floor but the more you have, the safer you'll be.

Installing & maintaining your smoke alarms

  • One alarm per floor is a minimum standard
  • Based on the fire risk of the occupant, alarms should be fitted in rooms which are regularly inhabited
  • A heat alarm in the kitchen is recommended
  • Where possible alarms should be interlinked
  • Alarms should be replaced after ten years or by replace by date
  • Change the battery once a year (unless it's a ten-year alarm)
  • The best place for your smoke alarms is on the ceiling, near or at the middle of the room or hall
  • If you have only one alarm and but more than one floor, put it somewhere you'll be can hear it when you're asleep
  • If you have a large electrical appliance like a computer in any of your rooms you should fit smoke alarms there as well.
  • Alarms should be at least 30cm (one foot) away from walls and lights.
  • Test your alarms once a week, by pressing the test button until the alarm sounds and use your vacuum cleaner to suck out any dust.
  • If it is difficult for you to fit your smoke alarm yourself, ask a family member or friend to help you or contact us to see if you are eligible for a Home Safety Visit. 

Remember: Regularly testing and maintaining your smoke alarms will improve their life expectancy and effectiveness. 

Hearing loss and smoke alarms

If you are deaf or hard of hearing the right smoke alarms give protection and valuable time to escape from a fire.

When to change your smoke alarms

Most smoke alarms, battery-powered or mains powered, have a 10-year life, after which you should change them to make sure you have the best protection for your home.

If someone else installed your alarms but didn't leave you with the installation date check for the replacement date on the alarm itself.

For British Standard EN 14604:2005 certified alarms the manufacturer must put their recommended replacement date on the alarm's labelling in addition to a batch code or date of manufacture.

This information may be located on the side or back of the smoke alarm.

Mains powered smoke alarm

Smoke alarm regulations

The Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 requires landlords to ensure the fire safety of their tenants as well as offer protection against carbon monoxide poisoning. 

Landlords are required to install a smoke alarm on every floor of their property and a carbon monoxide alarm in rooms containing a solid fuels appliance, such as log burners or open fires. 

Read more.

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