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Scotland’s new fire alarm laws

Arnold Clark Insurance Services answer your questions about the new fire safety laws coming into effect in February 2022.

Do you have your new fire alarms fitted yet?

Do you have your new fire alarms fitted yet?

Following a number of high-profile incidents, Scotland is updating the law surrounding smoke and fire alarms across the country. The update is designed to ensure that every home across the country reaches the same level of safety and protection, regardless of location or situation.

The law is set to come into effect in February 2022, so it’s important that homes are fitted to meet the new requirements.

Under this law, introduced only in Scotland as of February 2022, it will be a requirement that every home has ‘interlinked’ alarms; this means that if any alarm goes off in the house, every alarm will go off, ensuring that everyone inside can safely evacuate.

There will also be stricter guidelines around which areas in the home need an alarm present to ensure that all residents are alerted to fires as quickly as possible.

You only have until February to comply with the new laws, which means the sooner you upgrade your alarm system, the safer you and those you live with will be.

But if you still have some questions about the new legislation, Arnold Clark Insurance answers the most commonly asked ones to put you in the picture.

Which alarms are needed for the home?

According to the new law, homeowners must have:

  • One smoke alarm installed in the room most frequently used for general daytime living purposes
  • One smoke alarm in every circulation space on each storey, such as hallways and landings
  • One heat alarm installed in every kitchen

In places where there is one or more carbon-fuelled appliance - including boilers and fires (such as open fires, heaters or a flue) - a carbon monoxide detector is also required which does not need to be linked.

What are interlinked alarms - and why do you need them?

Interlinked smoke and heat alarm systems can communicate with each other, which means if one alarm goes off, they all sound.

There are two types of interlinked fire alarms that meet the new regulations:

  • Sealed battery alarms: These should be tamper-proof long-life (which can be up to ten years) batteries. Assure staff deal applies.

  • Mains-wired alarms: These are different to install than tamper-proof long-life battery alarms and should only be installed by a qualified electrician. These should be replaced every ten years.

Each must meet the following industry standards:

  • Smoke alarms: BS EN14604:2005
  • Heat alarms: BS 5446-2:2003
  • Carbon monoxide: British Kitemark EN 50291-1

What types of housing will be covered by the new standard?

All homes will be covered by the new standard, as it is important that all homes should be safe for occupants regardless of tenure. It will be the property owner’s responsibility to meet the new standard.

Why is the Scottish government introducing this legislation now?

Following the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in London in 2017, a Ministerial Working Group on Building and Fire Safety was established to review Scotland’s building and fire safety regulatory frameworks. This legislation will ensure that everyone in a dwelling or business premise in Scotland has the same level of protection against fire.

I already have multiple smoke alarms fitted in my home, but they are not interlinked. Do I need to change these to interlinked ones?

Yes. Your home smoke and heat alarms must be interlinked. You may not hear the alarm closest to the fire but, by having an interlinked system, you will still be alerted immediately.

How long do I have to comply?

The regulations come into force in February 2022, meaning homeowners and landlords have until then to comply. However, installing alarms at the earliest opportunity will provide improved fire safety in your home.

Are all detectors the same size?

No. Their sizes vary, which might necessitate a cosmetic touch-up to household walls if existing detectors are replaced.

If you’re looking for further peace of mind around your home and its contents, get a free quote from Arnold Clark Insurance Services today.

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Arnold Clark Insurance Services