In addition to the basic function of a smoke alarm, it pays to consider certain extra functions and installation methods. Mains powered alarms are a great way of ensuring your alarm doesn’t need regular battery changes, although they must be installed by a qualified electrician. It’s also worth considering a back-up battery in case of power cuts. A ‘hush button’ is an excellent addition if you opt for an ionisation alarm close to the kitchen, while a light, visual aid or vibrating bracelet can help the deaf and hard of hearing. Carbon monoxide alarms are sometimes included with smoke alarms, and these can detect harmful leaks from heating systems and other gas appliances.
There are a number of steps you should take to ensure that your smoke alarms continue to provide adequate early warning in the event of fire. If your alarms are battery powered, remember to test them regularly to ensure they’re still functioning. In 2012 to 2013, a smoke alarm was present but did not function in 19% of fires, showing how incredibly important it is to test your alarms regularly. It’s also a good idea to have old electrical appliances and wiring checked regularly to ensure that it’s still in line with the required safety standards.
Another important way to stay safe is to get into the habit of storing electrical appliances, including chargers, e-cigarettes and batteries, away from potential sources of heat such as a radiator. Remember to store cigarettes, matches, candles and other flammable materials safely and away from children.
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