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Detection and equipment

Smoke alarms are essential for every home to detect the start of a fire in your home. You may also feel that you need additional fire safety equipment, like fire blankets, fire extinguishers or sprinklers, which can be helpful in an emergency. However it's vital to know how and when to use it and remember you should only tackle a fire in its early stage before it starts to spread.

Find out more on fire detection and equipment below and watch the detection video to help you find the best place to position a smoke alarm in your home.

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Smoke Alarms

Fires happen when you least expect them, often during the night. They also spread very quickly, damaging property, killing and injuring people. A smoke alarm is a warning device that detects smoke at the earliest stages of a fire. When it detects a fire, it will make a piercing noise to alert or wake you.

Find out more about the different types of Smoke alarms and how to install and maintain them

Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is something you can't see, smell or taste, so it's important to protect your family from this silent danger with a carbon monoxide alarm.

Find out more about what causes Carbon Monoxide and how to prevent it

Fire blankets

Fire blankets are good to use on fat pan fires on the cooker or for wrapping round someone whose clothing is on fire. They're ideal to keep in the kitchen, but they aren't good for general use. If you get one, make sure it conforms to British Standard BS 6575.

Fire sprinklers

Sprinklers provide a high level of protection from the risk of dying in a fire and are particularly suitable for older people and people who have difficulty moving around or have some other impairment.

Some of the things to consider with sprinkler systems include the following:

  • Sprinklers are fitted in as many rooms as you want them to be. Their pipes are small and run off mains water.
  • They are individually heat-activated, so the whole system doesn't go off at once.
  • They rarely get set off accidentally as they need high temperatures to trigger them.
  • They operate automatically, whether you're at home or not.
  •  If you have a sprinkler system it must be in conjunction with a smoke alarm. The smoke alarm will alert you to slow-burning, smoke-generating fires which may not generate enough heat to trigger the sprinkler.
  • Sprinklers sound the alarm when they go off - so they alert you and also tackle the fire.

For more information, view our page on Residential Fire Sprinklers.

Fire extinguishers

There are three main types of fire extinguisher - powder, water and foam.

Powder and foam each come in two types. Only one type of powder and one type of foam is suitable for having at home. No single type of extinguisher is totally effective on every kind of fire so before buying one, it's vital to look carefully at what kinds of fires it can be used on.

In addition, consider the following points if you're thinking about purchasing a fire extinguisher:

  • Don't attempt to use an extinguisher on a fire unless you feel it is safe for you to do so.
  • Position it where you can get to it quickly, like the hall.
  • Buy one you can carry easily.
  • Don't put it over a heater or fire, but do fix it to the wall, so it's out of reach of children but easily accessed.
  • Read the instructions and be familiar with how to use it.
  • Don't leave it until you have a fire.
  • Get it serviced once a year or as the manufacturer recommends.
  • If you're using it on a fire, keep yourself on the escape route side of the fire.

Register your electrical appliances

Unless products are registered, it is very difficult to track the owners down if there is ever a recall on it.  Did you know that there is a website where you can register your electrial appliances so if there is a problem with your appliance, the manufacturer can contact you in the event of a recall. Your details will not be used for marketing.

Find out more and register your appliances