What’s going on?
From February 2022, new rules are being introduced by the Scottish Government that means EVERY house must have interlinked fire alarms installed.
Interlinked means that if one alarm goes off, they all go off. So if a fire starts in the kitchen and you’re elsewhere in the house, all the alarms will go off, alerting you to the fire.
As of February 2022, you will need:
- 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. Gas cookers and hobs do not need a carbon monoxide detector.
Am I responsible for installing alarms?
If you own your own home (outright or on a mortgage) then you have responsibility for ensuring that fire alarms are installed and meet the new standard.
If you are a council or housing association tenant, your local authority or housing association are responsible for installing your new alarms. They should already be working to get these installed but if you have concerns, call them and ask for an update.
If you are a private tenant, your landlord is responsible for installing your new alarms.
The Equality Act says that tenants (both social and private) who have a disability can ask their landlord to make certain changes to the property to avoid the disabled person being at a disadvantage. Installing flashing or other appropriate fire, smoke and heat alarms for deaf or deafblind people will come under this category.
Who should install them?
It may seem like a daunting prospect but there are options to make sure your house is compliant and you are as safe as possible in your home.
- You can purchase and install alarms yourself. Remember they must be interlinked and fit the new standard but they CAN be battery operated.
- You can ask a trusted electrician to install alarms that are interlinked.
**Scammers and rogue traders may try to take advantage of those who are unsure about how to comply with the new legislation or who are worried about meeting the installation deadline. Visit https://www.tsscot.co.uk/fire-alarms-standard-scams/ and never employ cold callers or someone who appears on your doorstep.**
- Older and disabled homeowners on low incomes can get help with costs, contact your local Care and Repair service for more information
- The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) can install alarms in the homes of people assessed to be at high risk from fire as part of a home fire safety visit. To request a Home Fire Safety Visit, contact The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service on 0800 0731 999, text FIRE to 80800 or visit the Scottish Fire and Rescue service website. https://www.firescotland.gov.uk/your-safety/at-home/alarms/
Which alarms should I buy?
There is no list of approved suppliers or fitters, however each alarm must comply with the following standards:
- smoke alarms: BS EN14604:2005
- heat alarms: BS 5446-2:2003
- carbon monoxide detector: British Kitemark EN 50291-1
Try the following websites for products:
- RNID Connevans – www.RNIDconnevans.co.uk
- FireBlitz – www.fireblitz.co.uk
- Fireco – www.fireco.uk
- Safe Fire Direct – www.safefiredirect.co.uk
- Wireless Alert Solutions – www.wasol.co.uk
- Safelincs Ltd – www.safelincs.co.uk
- MDH Wireless – www.mdh-uk.co.uk
What happens if I’m deaf or hard of hearing?
If you are deaf or hard of hearing, there are alarms that can help alert you to a fire, without using audible sounds. Sensory alarms can include alerts such as vibrating pads, flashing lights and vibrating pagers.
BS 5446 part 3: 2015 sets out the required standards that fire and carbon monoxide alarms for people who are deaf or have hearing loss should meet.
When choosing an alarm, always be sure it meets your needs and the needs of everyone in your household. If you’re asking a tradesperson to install your alarms for you, be sure they are installing alarms that meet the British Standard.
If you are deaf or hard of hearing, visit https://rnid.org.uk/information-and-support/technology-and-products/smoke-alarm-systems/ for more information on appropriate alarms.
How much will they cost?
If you fit them yourself, it is estimated that the cost of a new system will be about £220 for a 2 storey home. It will cost more if you get a tradesperson to fit them for you.
What if I can’t afford them?
If you are worried about affording the cost of an alarm system contact:
- Care and Repair – In Perth & Kinross, the Care and Repair scheme is administered by Caledonia Housing Association. Contact them on 0800 678 1228 or e-mail email@example.com.
- The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service
- Your local authority – Perth & Kinross Council
What happens if I haven’t got new alarms installed by February 1st?
So long as you’re planning to get alarms fitted that meet the new legislation, then you shouldn’t worry if you don’t have them fitted for the start of February.
The Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government, Shona Robison, said in parliament that “there are no penalties for non-compliance and no-one will be penalised if they need more time.”
What happens if I do nothing?
If you fail to upgrade your property to meet the new standards this may invalidate your home insurance policy under certain circumstances, or cause difficulties with your home report if you attempt to sell your home.