Fire statistics have revealed one smoke alarm may not be enough to provide you with the best chance of escaping a fire in the home.

Smoke alarms provide the vital early warning which allows for people to get out of a house if a fire breaks out.

But, despite the majority of homes - 95 per cent - having at least one smoke alarm, smoke alarms only alerted householders to just under half of fires in the home in England.

The most common reason a smoke alarm failed to activate was because the fire was outside its range.

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service is encouraging people in Essex to think about the smoke alarms in their home.

James Taylor, said: “We all must make sure that we have enough smoke alarms in our homes and that they are in the right places.

"If your whole home isn’t covered, you could be leaving it to chance and, in a fire, you might not get the early warning that you need”.

“The vast majority of us now have at least one working smoke alarm in our home, but early detection and warning is vital to reduce the devastation a fire can cause.

"That’s why it’s so important that you have enough smoke alarms and that they are in the right places.

"That will give them the best chance of alerting you and your loved ones to a fire.

“You should make sure you have at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home, preferably in hallways and landings.

"And placing smoke detectors near to sleeping areas and in rooms where there are electrical appliances could give you the extra warning you need.

“It’s also important to remember that smoke alarms don’t last forever. The power might work, but the detection mechanism deteriorates with time.

"So whether they are battery operated or wired to the mains, to work at their best they should be replaced every ten years.”

The fire service's smoke alarm top tips:

  • Install at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home.
  • The ideal position is on the ceiling, in the middle of a room or on a hallway or landing.
  • Consider fitting additional alarms in other rooms where there are electrical appliances and near sleeping areas
  • Don’t put alarms in or near kitchens and bathrooms where smoke or steam can set them off by accident.
  • Replace your smoke alarms every ten years.
  • We are also urging carers and people who keep a close eye on less able relatives to check that these homes have enough smoke alarms in the right places too

Essex Fire and Rescue provide and fit smoke alarms free of charge. Call 0300 303 0088 or visit