Linked smoke detectors are a type of smoke detector that is remotely linked to other smoke detectors in a house. If one smoke alarm is activated in the kitchen and sounds the alarm, all other smoke detectors in the house will also alarm simultaneously.
If you haven’t got linked smoke detectors or fire alarm system in your house, I’m going to ask you why, and then show you compelling evidence why your single, standalone smoke detector is so very 90’s – and less safer than it’s linked counterpart.
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In Scotland? See our page on linked smoke detectors for Scottish Law.
Table of Contents
Smoke Detectors In The UK
It’s estimated that over 90% of residential property in the UK do have at least one smoke detector installed in the property. And it’s really no wonder. For anyone old enough to remember the 1990’s, there was a huge initiative and drive by the government, local councils and safety groups to get fire safety and more to the point, smoke detectors installed in every household.
And it was considered a success.
A huge percent of the population installed their own smoke detectors, and became much more educated in the area of home fire safety, with millions of smoke detectors even being given out free of charge, with the fire service even coming and installing them for you.
How Common Are House Fires?
Go and Google your local newspaper, and I’ll bet you won’t have to scroll too far before you come to a story about a fire in the local vicinity that has happened in the last few days.
On average, the fire service are called out to over 37,000 house fires a year.
For every death attributed to a house fire, 3 out of 5 of these instances took place in a house without a single smoke detector or fire alarm. And 1 out of 5 of these instances took place in a house with a non working smoke detector or fire alarm.
A Scary Story – Example
Let’s start with a quick example.
You have a 3 bedroomed, average sized family home in the UK.
You have a couple of smoke detectors installed, which you check regularly and both are in good working condition.
A fire starts in the kitchen in the middle of the night. Because of the location of your smoke detector (yep, you moved the smoke detector away from the kitchen because it kept going off whilst cooking, and you never bothered buying a heat detector instead), it takes 2 minutes for the smoke to seep into the living room, and set off the living room smoke detector.
It’s 3am, and you’re in a deep sleep, and you don’t hear the downstairs detector.
The smoke seeps up your stairs, and finally sets off the smoke detector outside your bedroom a further 2 minutes later.
You manage to get some form of clothing on and wake up the rest of your family up in 30 seconds, and finally head downstairs through thick, toxic smoke, and through the front door.
4 minutes and 30 seconds have past since first ignition of the fire, will you and your family make it out alive?
Now, watch this video:
This video was made in 2010, and does feature a highly flammable Christmas Tree. It is worst case scenario, and yes, it is meant to scare you, because fires can and will envelop a house this quickly, no matter how far forward we have come to making materials less flammable.
Rewind The Story
You have a set of linked smoke detectors in your house (if one goes off and is activated by smoke, they all go off simultaneously).
Once the smoke activates that first alarm downstairs, it also activates the alarm outside your bedroom.
You wake everyone up and head downstairs and out of the front door to safety.
The linked smoke detectors managed to cut your alerted time in half.
There was no toxic smoke. You and your family make it out alive.
Yes, this is the power of linked smoke detectors.
If you do not have a set of linked smoke detectors in your home, now is the time to start seriously considering purchasing some, because they have the ability to alert you far sooner than the older, more conventional basic smoke detectors ever can.
Standard Smoke Detectors
Even if you don’t have linked smoke detectors in your home, having standard smoke detectors installed in your house is an absolute minimum safety requirement and should be part of your home fire escape plan. If you do not have at least one, then please either go and purchase one or call your local fire safety authority to see if you could be eligible for a free safety check, free smoke detector and free installation.
It’s absolutely a minimum requirement for anyone who cares about their own life and the lives of their family.
A standard smoke detector will perform well but does have limitations, specifically regarding when one alarm is triggered, it doesn’t trigger any other alarms.
Technology has moved on leaps and bounds since the 80’s and 90’s when these smoke detectors were first designed, manufactured and thought about.
Linked Smoke Detectors
Linked smoke detectors are more advanced than your standard, stand alone smoke detector.
You can also link smoke detectors and heat detectors in some cases. If you are in Scotland, it is the law to have linked smoke and heat detectors from February 2022, read this article here for the best linked smoke/heat detectors that complies with Scottish Law.
Once one detector detects smoke, it will sound an audible alarm like any other smoke detector. But the clever thing is, it will also sound an audible alarm on every other linked detector you have installed.
And this has the potential to give you advanced warning and more time to prepare an evacuation of your house.
Some of these linked smoke detectors systems will also link to your phone, and sound an alarm on your phone no matter where you. It will also give you monitoring statistics, such as battery life so you always know you are protected.
How Do Linked Smoke Detectors Work?
This simple diagram shows you exactly how linked smoke detectors work.
Linked smoke detectors comunicate through radio signals, so if one alarm activates in your house, a radio signal is sent to all other interconnected alarms which then in turn, activate the alarm on them too – giving you the earliest possible warning that you may be in danger.
Recommended Linked Smoke Detectors
Please Do One Thing
If you don’t want to invest the money into a linked smoke detector set up, then that is up to you.
However, if you’re reading this and you’re sat at home, then this is a good time to go and check your current smoke detectors and fire detectors to ensure they are in full working order.
A large proportion of fires occur in homes that do have smoke detectors, but haven’t been tested in years, resulting in detectors that would not alarm in the event of a fire.
If you do nothing else today, make sure the one thing you do is test your smoke detectors and alarms.
Safe And Well Visits
Most fire services in the UK still offer home fire safety visits, and some even offer free smoke detectors and free installation. Please check with your local fire service to see if they offer this service, and if you are eligible to receive this service.
For vulnerable people, elederly and disabled, these services are prioritised.
Simply visit your local fire authority’s website for more details.
Stay Safe. Stay Secure.