Concerns Raised Over Battery-powered Fire Alarms
3rd February 2020
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Does your rental property have mains or battery-powered fire alarms? New figures have revealed that battery-powered smoke alarms failed in more than a third of house fires in England.

The Local Government Association (LGA) has analysed figures from the Home Office which show that firefighters dealt with more than 7,500 fires in homes with battery-powered alarms, but a shocking 38% failed to alert residents.

According to the data, incorrect positioning of alarms was responsible for 45% of the failures, while missing or faulty batteries caused a fifth (20%) of failures. Home Office figures also reveal that the failure rate has remained largely unchanged since 2010.

Here are the key findings from the LGA research:

  • Fire crews attended 29,586 house fires in England between April 1, 2018 and March 31, 2019
  • In total, 22,475 of these homes were fitted with a smoke alarm
  • Of these, 7,692 were battery-powered but 2,899 failed to sound
  • By comparison, mains-powered smoke alarms only failed in 21% of fires.

Other industry research has previously found that one in 10 households do not have a working smoke alarm, while 22% of people never test their alarms.

In response to its own research, the LGA is advising people to fit more than one smoke detector in their homes, with at least one on the ceiling of every floor.

Ian Stephens, chairman of the LGA's Fire Services Management Committee, said smoke alarms are "proven life-savers". He also advised people to check the alarms of vulnerable such as elderly family members or those on their own.

Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service offers seven smoke alarm tips:

  • Fit your smoke alarm at least 30cm away from any wall or light fitting and as close to the centre of the room, hallway or landing as possible
  • Don't fit a smoke alarm in the kitchen or bathroom as steam may trigger the alarm
  • Don't fit a smoke alarm in the garage where exhaust fumes can set it off
  • If your home is on one level, fit at least one alarm in the hallway between the bedroom and the exit
  • If your home is on more than one level, fit at least one alarm at the bottom of the stairs, with additional alarms on each upstairs landing
  • Check your smoke alarm every month
  • Change the battery every year, vacuum and wipe the casing and slots (unless you have a 10-year battery).
Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service also offers free home visits to check that existing smoke detectors are correctly sited and working. If required, they will even replace or fit a new smoke alarm free of charge. The appointment lasts no more than an hour and can be booked online at:
If you have any questions regarding the private rented sector, please contact Knight Property Management for a free, no obligation chat. Call us today on 01992 308181.
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Victoria H

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My name is Victoria Hunter and I'm a true Hertford person - I went to school in Hertford and grew up here. I understand the importance of bringing trusted businesses and the community together, and believe...

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