Smoke alarms as an effective way of preventing fires in homes

The Barcelona Fire Service extinguished 4,252 fires in the city in 2018. A third of them (1,584) occurred inside people’s homes and, of these, 78% happened during the night. In an effort to improve fire prevention in homes and reduce the number of victims and the amount of material damage, the campaign ‘Don’t invite fire into the home’ is promoting the installation of smoke detectors.

16/11/2019 09:57 h

Ajuntament de Barcelona


The public awareness campaign ‘Don’t invite fire into the home’ promotes the installation of smoke detectors in people’s homes to prevent the risk of domestic fires, particularly at night. This self-protection measure is directed at everyone, especially elderly people living alone and people with functional diversity.

The campaign by Barcelona City Council seeks to promote a change in regulations so that smoke alarms become obligatory in all new-build homes. It also seeks to highlight the importance of these devices with training sessions for property administrators, residents’ associations, senior citizens’ organisations and entities for people with functional diversity.

The promotion of fire prevention measures is one of the main areas that the Barcelona Fire Service works on with different groups. In 2018, over 8,000 people attended training sessions conducted at the Prevention Classroom run by the corps.

What are smoke detectors?

These electronic alarms beep when there is smoke in the area of the home where they are installed, sending a warning to householders. They are easy to fit and no other work is involved as they run on batteries.

How much do they cost?

You can find them for 10 to 15 euros upwards, at any hardware shop, department store or specialist establishment.

Why is it recommended to install them?

They are very useful and affordable tools for the prevention of potentially disastrous consequences.

Fire spreads very quickly and can affect a bedroom or an entire home. Smoke is the main danger in a fire and intoxication is the main cause of victims.

Smoke alarms go off at an early stage in the presence of smoke. They allow people to act and prevent it spreading, closing doors and if necessary, getting out and calling the fire service.

If you normally sleep with the bedroom door closed it is advisable to fit detectors in the bedroom.

Where should smoke alarms be fitted?

They should be fitted on ceilings, as centrally as possible and at least 15cm from walls.

Where should smoke alarms NOT be fitted?

They should not be installed in kitchens or bathrooms as steam or cooking smoke may cause false alarms.

They should also be fitted away from heaters, fans, air-conditioning units, windows and ventilation shafts, as movements of air and differences in temperature may prevent them from working properly.

What sort of maintenance do smoke detectors need?

The alarm signal should be checked periodically by pressing the test button, which gives out the same sound as if smoke had been detected. Batteries should be replaced whenever needed, at least once a year. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

More information on the campaign ‘Don’t invite fire into the home’ can be found at:

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