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Fire safety for home owners

Every home in Scotland must have interlinked fire alarms by February 2022.

Being interlinked means if one alarm goes off, they all go off. You may not always hear the alarm closest to the fire, especially if you’re somewhere else in the house. An interlinked system will alert you immediately.

What you need to do

If you are a homeowner, it's your responsibility to make sure your home meets the new fire alarms standard.

By February 2022 every home will need to have:

  • one smoke alarm in the room you spend most of the day, usually your living room
  • one smoke alarm in every circulation space on each storey, such as hallways and landings
  • one heat alarm in the kitchen

All smoke and heat alarms should be mounted on the ceiling and be interlinked.

If you have a carbon-fuelled appliance, like a  boiler, fire, heater or flue you must also have a carbon monoxide detector. This does not need to be linked to the fire alarms.

Examples

If you live in a one bedroom flat, you will need two smoke alarms and one heat alarm. 

A 3 bedroom, 2 storey house will need 3 smoke alarms and one heat alarm. 

If you have an open plan living room and kitchen you only need to have one alarm in this space and it should be a heat alarm.

Whatever the size your home, if you have a carbon fuelled appliance like a boiler, you will also need a carbon monoxide detector.

The types of alarm you'll need

There are two types of interlinked fire alarms that meet the new rules:

  • sealed battery alarms – which should be tamper-proof long-life (which can be up to 10 years) batteries. You can fit these alarms yourself.
  • mains-wired alarms - these are cheaper than tamper proof long-life battery alarms, but should be installed by a qualified electrician. These should be replaced every 10 years. Get help finding a tradesperson by searching the Approved Trader Directory or the Approved Certifier of Construction Scheme.

Both types of alarm are interlinked by radio frequency without the need for WiFi.

If the carbon monoxide alarm is battery operated, it must have a sealed battery for the duration of its lifespan, which may be up to 10 years. 

Smoke alarms and heat alarms

Smoke alarms work by detecting particles of smoke.  Heat alarms work by detecting very high temperature. Heat alarms are less sensitive than smoke alarms and are recommended where there is a risk of false alarms from smoke due to open fireplaces or cooking accidents, for example where you might burn food.

Cost of alarms and what to look out for

The cost for an interlinked system with sealed long-life battery alarms in a two storey house is around £220, if you fit the alarms yourself. There will be an extra cost if you get a tradesperson to fit them for you.

You should:

  • look for a recognised brand
  • use a reputable retailer
  • read online reviews 
  • check that each alarm complies with the following standards - 
    • Smoke alarms: BS EN14604:2005 
    • Heat alarms: BS 5446-2:2003 
    • Carbon monoxide detectors: British Kitemark EN 50291-1

Will your home insurance be affected?

This depends on the terms and conditions of your home insurance policy. Contact your insurer to check if the new fire alarms requirements are included in your policy.

What you should do with your old alarms

Most smoke and heat alarms can be recycled, either at home in your recycling bin or at any recycling centre.

Specialist alarms including Telecare systems

Any specialist alarms, for example if you are deaf or have a Telecare system, should be fitted in addition to the interlinked smoke and heat alarms and the carbon monoxide alarm. 

Find out more about Telecare and fire safety.

If you rent

Check what you need to do if you rent through a private landlord or through social housing.

Help and advice

For more detailed information you can read The Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 (Tolerable Standard) (Extension of Criteria) Order 2019 , and the related guidance.

You can get more information on the new fire alarms legislation, including answers to the most commonly asked questions on the Scottish Government website

For advice on fire safety or to request a Home Fire Safety Visit, contact The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service on 0800 0731 999 or visit the Scottish Fire and Rescue service website 

If you have any concerns about meeting housing standards, contact your local authority

For help installing alarms if you are elderly or disabled, contact your local Care and Repair service 

If you are concerned about a cold caller or about what a tradesperson is telling you, please call Trading Standards Scotland on 0808 164 6000

If you still have questions on the alarms and what you need for your home contact newfirealarmstandard@gov.scot

 

 

 

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