Help our research project

28 January 2019

Do you have an old smoke detector in your home?  Is it over 10 years old?

If so, you could help us.  We are collaborating in a research study with the Building Research Establishment (BRE), investigating the effectiveness of old smoke detectors in domestic dwellings.  

Currently, there is no research into how well an old smoke detector works.  Does an old one work as well as a new one?  How often should you buy a new smoke detector?  These are some of the questions that we, together with BRE, and other industry partners, are looking to find answers to.

If you have an old smoke detector in your home, we would like to invite you to participate in the study. Our research partner, BRE, is specifically looking for optical smoke detectors to test.  

BRE would only need access for a short period of time to carry out the tests and do not need to remove the detectors from the ceiling to carry out the test. The tests can be carried out anywhere in the country. Indeed, we are hoping to obtain sample dwellings in Scotland, as Scottish Government are contributing to the research project.

The project is only concerned with optical domestic smoke alarms that are over ten years old. Smoke alarms of that age tend to be ionisation chamber devices, so there is a shortage of suitable dwellings at which tests can be carried out.

How to tell if a detector is suitable for the study:

  1. See if there is a make/model marked on it and then Google for the manufacturer. OR
  2. Take it down and look to see if it says on it which it is. OR
  3. If it is an ionisation chamber detector, when you take it down, you will find it is marked on the underside with the radioactivity warning sign.
  4. The detector must be 10 years old or older.

The detector could be in your own home, but if you are also able to help just by identifying a potential dwelling, or preferably groups of dwellings, this would also be valuable to the study.

If you would like to participate in this valuable research, please contact Raman Chagger, who is running the research project at BRE.