Smoke alarms and sprinklers
Fitting your smoke alarm
- Fit smoke alarms on every level of your home
- Don’t put alarms in or near kitchens or bathrooms where smoke or steam can set them off by accident
- The ideal position is on the ceiling, in the middle of a room, or on the hallway and landing, so you can hear the alarm throughout your home
- If it is difficult for you to fit your alarm yourself, contact the Isle of Man Fire and Rescue Service, who will be happy to install it for you
Ensure your smoke alarm carries the following symbols.
Testing your smoke alarm
- ‘Test it Tuesdays’ – make checking your smoke alarm part of your regular household routine. You should test it once a week
- Test it by pressing the button until the alarm sounds. If it doesn’t sound, you need to replace the battery.
- If your smoke alarm starts to beep on a regular basis, you need to replace the battery immediately. As a matter of course change it every year.
- If it is a 10-year alarm, you will need to replace the whole alarm every 10 years
- Never disconnect or take the batteries out of your smoke alarm if it goes off by mistake.
- Standard battery-operated alarms are the cheapest option, but the batteries need to be replaced every year.
- Mains-powered alarms are powered by your home-powered supply. Generally they don’t need replaceable batteries, but need to be installed by a qualified electrician.
- You can even have linked alarms installed, so that when one alarm detects a fire they all go off together. This is useful if you live in a large house or over several levels.
Strobe light and vibrating-pad alarms are available for those who are deaf or hard of hearing. Contact the Isle of Man Fire and Rescue Service’s Community Safety Team for more information.
Domestic sprinklers - the benefits
- Sprinklers save lives - and property - and are the only devices which can detect a fire, sound the alarm, call the Fire and Rescue Service and extinguish or control the fire.
- Control/extinguish 99% of fires.
- Deal with fires when they are small and more easily controllable.
- Limit the production of smoke and fumes.
- A sprinkler system will rapidly control a fire and reduce the rate of production of heat and smoke, allowing time for occupants to escape.
- Drastically reduce the damage caused by a fire, minimising the disruption and time taken to achieve business continuity.
- Generally, a sprinkler system for a new property only amounts to 1-2% of the total build cost.
- Cost very little to maintain.
- Protection they offer can reduce the need for other fire safety measures.
- Bring about financial benefits, resulting from insurance premium reductions.
- Sprinkler heads can be completely concealed.
- Since the UK started to take the idea of sprinklered homes seriously in the late 1990s, it has been estimated that 25 lives have already been saved by the systems.
Domestic sprinklers - the myths
Myth 1: When there is a fire, all the sprinkler heads go off at once.
Wrong. Each head is independent and only the head(s) adjacent to the fire go off.
Myth 2: Water damage is as bad as the fire damage.
Wrong. A typical sprinkler discharges 55 litres per minute. A firefighting hose discharges over 600 litres per minute. You can expect a sprinkler to discharge less than 5% of the water used by the Fire and Rescue Service.
Myth 3: Sprinklers can go off accidentally.
Wrong. Records show that the chance of an accidental discharge from a sprinkler is around 16 million to one.
Myth 4: Sprinkler Systems are expensive.
Wrong. It is estimated that the costs of a sprinkler system can be recovered
over a period of about 10 years. This is achieved through reduced insurance
premiums and, in larger organisations, through less disruption to business continuity when a fire occurs.