How to: test your fire alarm

March 06 2018

Around the UK, there are on average 140 house fires a day. To maximise your chances of early detection and help you safely put out the fire before it causes a problem, fire alarms are an essential piece of kit. We know many of our tenants at Morgan Randall have been unsure of how to check a fire alarm in the past, so we wrote this helpful how to guide to clear the air.

Modern fire alarms are mains powered but come with a battery as a backup power source in case of a power outage. It is recommended by the Fire Service that everyone checks theirs at least once a week. Your landlord should legally have a smoke detector or fire alarm installed. However, they are only required to check they are working at the start of your tenancy, so the duty is yours to check it regularly.

Here at Morgan Randall, however, we set a high standard by our property management and will send a friendly reminder to all of our tenants periodically reminding them to check their alarms. Don’t say we never do anything nice, eh?!

It’s all well and good being reminded you might say - but how do you check your fire alarm is working?

Well, no matter what your system - from the fanciest optical smart alarm to the cheapest battery powered ionisation models - checking is a complete cinch. They will be required to have, somewhere on them, a testing button. Just press this until you hear a high pitched beeping sound and you know your alarm is working.

If not, it could be down to a few things. If it’s a battery powered model, just change the battery and try again. On freestanding models, the battery compartment should be on the back of the device and can be opened by hand. Some ceiling or wall mounted models, especially mains powered options, may need a screwdriver to open them up - just make sure you turn off the power first! You can then pull them away from the wall, insert the new battery and replace.

If this sounds like too much effort to you, we’ve got good news. Most fire alarms are very low intensity when it comes to power consumption, so batteries should only need replacing once a year. Many smoke alarms in fact now come with packs of batteries - so now you know how to check your fire alarm, there’s no excuse for not keeping yourself and your family safe.