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    Q608: What is the best type of smoke alarm to have?

    There are various different types of smoke alarm, these are widely available and can cost as little as £5, depending on the type of detection it uses.

    If you or a family member have a condition that may prevent or delay escape if there is a fire, you may need a specialist alarm system. Your local Fire and Rescue Service will be able to advise you further, please see the link in related information for your local Fire and Rescue Service contact details.

    Ionisation

    • These types of smoke alarms detect free burning flames such as chip pan fires.
    • They detect the smoke before it gets thick.
    • Cost from under £5
    • Availability - can be found in most supermarkets and DIY stores

    Optical

    • These are more sensitive and will detect slow burning fires
    • Less likely to go off whilst you are cooking
    • Cost from £15
    • Availability - can be found in DIY and electrical stores

    Combined

    • These detect both free burning flames and slow burning fires
    • Cost from £5
    • Availability - can be found in DIY and electrical stores

    Whichever model of smoke alarm you chose, look out for one which has a British Standard Kitemark symbol which indicates that the detector is an approved model.

    Some fire services offer a home fire safety visit and provide free smoke alarms to the elderly and vulnerable, contact your local fire service for more details.

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