Smoke detectors can be bought from most good DIY stores and cost in the region of £4 each.
The most important thing you need is a smoke alarm; without this you may not even wake up if you have a fire.
We all know how sensitive they are - think of how little smoke it takes to set one off when cooking. Smoke alarms are designed to be this sensitive so that they will sound as soon as a fire, or smouldering, starts, giving you as much time as possible to leave the building. Remember you have just a few minutes though before a fire can take hold.
If you live in open plan accommodation you may experience problems with false alarms. This is usually caused by cooking fumes. To alleviate this problem consider buying a detector that has a hush facility. With this detector you will be able to silence the alarm for a short period when cooking is taking place.
Never remove the battery from your detector even for a short period, remember the detector is only doing its job.
Most budget smoke detectors will come with a battery ready fitted. This battery will last you for at least one year. Make a point of changing that battery annually. Consider using one of your children’s birthdays, or a special occasion, to remind you to change it.
More expensive long life detectors are now available and if you are intending to stay in your house you should consider purchasing one of these.
You may wish to consider a mains powered detector, they operate under normal circumstances using power supplied from the mains. In the event of a power cut, a pre-installed battery takes over to ensure you are always protected. These systems use very little electricity and alleviate the problems of flat batteries.
The Department for Communities in Local Government, in partnership with AICO, have produced a YouTube clip to promote the use of mains-powered alarms to privately rented properties: