Smoke alarms

You are more than twice as likely to die in a fire at home if you haven’t got a smoke alarm. A smoke alarm is the easiest way to alert you to the danger of fire, giving you precious time to escape. They are cheap, easy to get hold of and easy to fit. Every year the Fire and Rescue Service is called to over 600,000 fires which result in over 800 deaths and over 17,000 injuries. About 50,000 (140 a day) of these are in the home and kill nearly 500 and injure over 11,000, many which could have been prevented if people had an early warning and were able to get out in time. In fact you are twice as likely to die in a house fire that has no smoke alarm than a house that does.

How many Smoke Alarms do you need?

The more alarms you have, the safer you’ll be. At minimum you should have one on each floor. However, if you have only one alarm and two floors, put it somewhere you’ll be able to hear it when you’re asleep. If you have a TV or other large electrical appliance (such as a computer) in any of the bedrooms, you should fit a smoke alarm there too.

Choosing a Smoke Alarm

There are two types of smoke alarm widely available – Ionisation and Optical types – costing from around five to ten pounds:

  • ionisation alarms: these are the cheapest and most readily available – they are very sensitive to flaming fires (ones that burn fiercely such as chip-pan fires) and they will detect this type of fire before smoke gets too thick
  • optical alarms: these are more expensive and more effective at detecting slow-burning fires (such as smouldering foam-filled furniture or overheated wiring); they are less likely to go off accidentally and so are best for ground-floor hallways and for homes on one level

For the best protection, you should install one of each. However, if you can’t have both, it’s still safer to have either one, rather than none at all.


If you require more information on choosing or installing a smoke alarm please call us on 07949 795 744 or alternatively please email us at

See our products page for more information on smoke alarms.

Written by

Jeff Stewart is the Founder of Stewart Fire Protection Ltd. Based in Liverpool and offering full Fire Protection Services on a Nationwide Basis. This includes the supply and maintenance of Fire equipment and Fire Safety Training. Jeff has over 25 years experience in the Fire Safety Industry.