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  • Writer's pictureCliff L'Aimable _Chartered Surveyor & Building Engineer

Smoke detectors are cheap. Lives are priceless

Another Blog Post from Cliff L'Aimable who has been writing construction related blog posts since 1999 and was an ex-article writer with technical publications appearing in Trinity Mirror magazines and newspapers in his column called the "Property Doctor". For building regulation advice and a fee quote for building regulations approvals click

This blog is aimed at domestic home occupiers, I will briefly overview the importance of fitting smoke, heat and carbon monoxide detectors in your home.

1. Fire safety is always a top priority for fire authorities and building inspectors, which is why they strongly recommend the use of smoke detectors in order to quickly detect potential fires and alert building occupants of any potential danger. Smoke alarm systems are designed to be able to detect airborne smoke particles long before a fire has even started, giving people enough time to evacuate safely and preventing devastating property damage or even loss of life.

2. Fire safety statistics show that having working smoke detectors installed in homes can reduce the risk of death by up to half in the event of a house fire. Fire safety experts suggest that it’s best to install mains powered smoke alarms that are interconnected so that when one detects smoke all the others sound an alarm throughout the home, increasing chances of all occupants being alerted and evacuating safely.

3. Fire departments across the United Kingdom offer free installation services for residential buildings, check with your local fire authority department for availability of free smoke detectors.

The London Fire Authority state on their website that those who would benefit from a free installed detector are those who -

  • Smokes in their home.

  • Is over the age of 60.

  • Lives alone.

  • Has: a) limited mobility, b) a hearing impairment or c) is blind or partially sighted.

  • Would have difficulty responding to, or escaping from, a fire.

  • Has had a fire before, or shows signs of burns or scorching in the home.

  • Who has learning disabilities.

  • Is supported by family, carers and friends.

  • Has a mental health condition such as dementia or depression.

  • Has drug or alcohol dependencies.

  • Doesn’t have an alarm in all areas where a fire might start.

  • Collects or hoards in their home.

The fire authority encourages people to regularly test their smoke alarms, replacing any outdated models with newer ones that come with features such as voice warnings or strobe lights for better detection.

4. Fire safety experts also emphasise the importance of having an emergency evacuation plan set in place prior to a fire breaking out and practising it with family members or co-workers on a regular basis. This will help ensure everyone knows what they need to do in case there’s ever an emergency situation so they can remain calm and take action right away if necessary.

5. Finally, every home should have at least one properly installed smoke detector per level as well as carbon monoxide detectors near sleeping areas; this will help increase chances of detecting dangerous levels of smoke or carbon monoxide before it becomes hazardous, enabling people to escape unharmed from their buildings if a fire breaks out unexpectedly.

Heat detectors

Life safety is of paramount importance in any domestic setting, and another key component of a fire safety package ensuring early warning and life safety are heat detectors.

Heat detectors are early warning devices that detect an increase in temperature. They do so by detecting the rate of rise in the ambient air temperature of a room which would occur if a fire event was underway, thus alerting the occupants of a building when it reaches certain predetermined levels set during the manufacture of the detector.

In some instances where reducing nuisance false alarms are desirable, eg in kitchens, utility rooms or garages, then heat detectors would be the best choice as an early warning device.

Carbon monoxide detectors for the home

Carbon monoxide detectors are an important safety device for homes. Homeowners should consider investing in a carbon monoxide detector to protect building occupants from the dangers of this odourless, colourless gas. Carbon monoxide is produced by fuel-burning appliances such as wood burners, gas fires and boilers, meaning that it can be present even when these appliances are functioning correctly. By having a carbon monoxide detector installed in your home you can detect any leaks or build-up of the gas before it reaches dangerous levels and takes action accordingly.

Benefits of Carbon Monoxide Detectors for the Home:

  • Protect building occupants from dangerous levels of carbon monoxide, which can cause serious health problems such as headaches, dizziness, and even death in extreme cases.

  • Help homeowners detect any gas leaks or other potential sources of carbon monoxide before they become a problem.

  • Provide peace of mind knowing that your home is safe and secure against hazardous levels of this toxic gas.

So to conclude:

In the UK, there are specific building regulations for installing these types of devices when certain alterations, extensions, or new build projects are built.

Carry out a basic risk assessment of your home environment. Identify areas of risk, such as utility rooms, boiler cupboards, electrical intake cupboards, kitchen, garages. Talk to your local electrical suppliers, fire safety officers, and select the most appropriate smoke, heat and carbon dioxide early warning units, which will help to protect the occupants of your home.

As always for private sector based building regulation approvals and inspections contact us by calling tel : 01992 710 763 Email for competitive fee quotes visit our website at Blog post written by Cliff L'Aimable Chartered Surveyor a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and a Registered Chartered Building Engineer.

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