Improving fire safety in the home
The Scottish Government is working to improve fire safety for all, and one death from a house fire is one too many.
Scotland already has rigorous standards for fire alarms that have developed over time. Currently the highest safety standards are applied to new-build and private rented housing.
We want that safety and protection to be for everyone so, in January 2019, we took forward legislation to ensure that all homes – regardless of age or tenure – should be covered by the same standards.
This means all homes will need to have heat, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. This new standard was due to come in to force on 1 February 2021, however, due to the impact of COVID-19, and the difficulties that created for people in trying to get the right alarms installed, parliament agreed to our request to postpone implementation to February 2022.
From this new date, the changes will mean that all homes will need to have one smoke alarm in the room most frequently used, one in every circulation space on each storey, and a heat alarm in each kitchen. Alarms should be ceiling mounted and interlinked.
Where there is a carbon-fuelled appliance, such as boilers, fires or a flue, a carbon monoxide detector is also required. Although this does not need to be linked to the fire alarms.
All these alarms can be either long-life sealed and battery operated, or mains-operated – and it should be remembered that mains-operated alarms must be installed by a qualified electrician.
To make sure people are aware of what these changes mean, we have regularly updated our website which provides information. We are now developing proposals for a comprehensive awareness-raising campaign for later this summer, to be accompanied by a range of other public messaging throughout the year.
We are working with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, to ensure targeted advice is available. Also, we have funded them to fit compliant alarms during home safety visits to owner-occupiers assessed as being at high risk from fire.
We are exploring opportunities to work with other stakeholders to further ensure that we can get advice and support to people who most need it.
Retailers will be key partners in making sure people have access to the right alarms, and know how to fit them. With that in mind I have written to the major Scottish retailers to ask for their help by making sure they are stocking compliant products and that they consider other examples of good practice, such as selling pre-bundled home packs.
We will continue to explore what more can be done to provide support to homeowners who may not be able to afford the cost of fitting these alarms.
Fire alarms are proven to save lives and are one of the most important investments you can make to protect life and property. We know that the presence of working heat and smoke alarms significantly reduces casualties and fatalities within the home.
Behind this policy is protecting lives. By complying with these new regulations, I know we will greatly improve the safety of Scotland’s homes.
More information on new smoke and heat alarm regulations for Scotland.