Which smoke alarms are best for your safety?

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I hope by now you’ve all got the message about owning, the position of and testing of smoke alarms. But which alarms are best for you?

There are two main types of domestic smoke alarm - ionisation and optical.

The ionisation alarms are a little more sensitive and are prone to reacting to steam or burnt toast and so optical ones are better for placing near kitchens.

Of course, we need at least one on every level and if you have a garage attached to the house it’s worth considering having a heat detector in the garage too (smoke will always be going off with exhaust fumes).

Best practice is a detector on the ceiling and away from windows (so any smoke isn’t drawn through the window before setting off the alarm) and if you can hard wire or Wi-Fi your alarms then that’s best. One off, all off!

Of course, they should be tested weekly, but it’s also important to clean them with the appropriate vacuum attachment once every couple of months.

Cobwebs, dust and insects can all interfere with the smooth operation of a smoke alarm!

Where can I get them? Most DIY stores stock them, but if you are thinking of hard-wired or Wi-Fi, then it’s worth contacting a qualified electrician to install them.

We know they don’t stop fires from starting do they?

No they don’t, but they have saved more lives than we know of and by working properly and giving you early warning of a fire, they give you plenty of opportunity to get out of the property and remain safe. Only a working smoke alarm can save lives.

There are two ways you are likely to react in a serious fire situation.

Either you will be lucky and actually wake up in a blind panic and will jump through windows, try to run through doors and leave everything behind.

In fact, you will do anything to escape the burning, choking smoke that stings your eyes, makes your throat feel awful and hurts your chest after three or four breaths.

Some people aren’t so lucky and never wake up, being overcome by the smoke in their sleep.

Alternatively, you’ll hear the smoke alarm and have vital minutes to gather yourself together and put your escape plan into action. Get out, stay out and call 999.

It’s important not to forget smoke alarms are only part of ensuring your safety at home.

An escape plan and making sure everyone is aware of it, maintenance of electrics and good cooking and cleaning will all help too!

Finally, don’t take a risk with your life. Ensure you have working smoke alarms in your home!

They give you the vital minutes that can make all the difference.