Maintaining smoke alarms

You must look after your smoke alarms.

On average, 90 of the 460 people killed in fires in homes each year had a smoke alarm that didn’t work – usually because the battery was flat or missing.

Press the test button on each alarm as part of your boarding routine, it only takes a couples of seconds. If you live aboard or stay on board test all alarms every week.

If the alarm ever starts to ‘beep’ regularly, check out the reason as soon as possible.

Do not ignore any 'replace by' date. The cost of a new alarm has to be considered against the cost of anyone on board not being woken soon enough in the event of a fire.

Twice a year, and after any redecoration or other work that has produced a dusty environment, open the case and gently vacuum the inside to remove dust from the sensor. If the case does not open, vacuum through the holes.

If at a regular check, the battery terminals show signs of damage and ‘furring up’, it is best to replace your smoke alarm with a whole new unit.