Edinburgh hearing loss support directory: fire safety
Smoke alarms: what the changes in the law mean for deaf people
This information is for deaf people (Deaf BSL users, hard of hearing people, deafened people and deafblind people) who live in Edinburgh about the new Scottish smoke alarm laws which apply from February 2022
What are the new smoke alarm laws about?
From February 2022, the law is changing in Scotland. Every home in Scotland must have interlinked fire and smoke alarms by February 2022. Being interlinked means if one alarm goes off, they all go off. These can be either mains-wired or tamper-proof battery alarms.
Please speak to your insurer if you are worried about the impact that not making these changes will have on your home insurance.
But I’m deaf and can’t hear a standard smoke alarm, do I need standard smoke alarms in my home?
All homes in Scotland are required to meet the new law. You can choose to have one or more specialist smoke alarms for deaf people fitted as well as the standard smoke alarms. This can be either separate from or integrated into your standard system.
I already have one or more specialist smoke alarms for deaf people in my home, they have a vibrating under-pillow pad and a strobe light. What do I need to do?
The new law does not apply to specialist smoke alarms for deaf people. This means you do not have to fit extra specialist smoke alarms for deaf people in your home to comply with the law, although you may want to do so. The law also does not require removal or replacement of existing specialist smoke alarms.
You do need to upgrade your standard smoke/heat/carbon monoxide alarm system to meet the new legal requirements, and check that your existing specialist smoke alarm(s) for deaf people are compatible. Or you can fit a new integrated system which includes both standard and specialist alarm(s) for deaf people and dispose of your existing one(s). If your specialist smoke detector was fitted by Deaf Action, it may be able to be re-used. Please contact Deaf Action for details.
I’m deaf. What are my options if I don’t already have one or more specialist smoke detectors for deaf people, and also haven’t made any changes to the standard smoke/heat detection equipment in my home yet?
As a homeowner
If you plan to fit new standard smoke/heat/carbon monoxide alarms to meet the new legal requirements, and think you may also need a specialist smoke alarm for deaf people, you can:
- fit a whole new system which integrates standard smoke/heat/carbon monoxide alarms and specialist smoke alarms for deaf people to meet the new legal requirements. This could be battery operated or mains-wired
- upgrade your standard smoke/heat/carbon monoxide detection with battery operated or mains-wired equipment. Contact Deaf Action for an assessment. If needed, they will fit stand-alone battery operated specialist smoke alarms for deaf people which are compatible with your new system. These alarms are free of charge to Edinburgh homeowners.
As a homeowner who is an older or disabled person
Care and Repair Edinburgh can fit new battery-operated smoke/heat/carbon monoxide alarms to meet the legal requirements, including specialist smoke alarms for deaf people. Costs are subsidised or you may be eligible for funding. Please contact Care and Repair Edinburgh for details.
Call 0131 337 1111 or email email@example.com
As a private tenant, a housing association tenant or a Council tenant
Your landlord is responsible for fitting standard smoke/heat/carbon monoxide alarms to meet the new standard. Deaf Action can assess your need for a specialist smoke detector for deaf people and write to your landlord if you need one. Under the Equality Act, tenants can ask their landlord to make certain changes to the property that are needed to avoid the disabled person being at a disadvantage, and appropriate smoke alarms for people who are deaf fit into that category.
If you have joined ATEC24
ATEC24 is the Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership’s alarm service. To comply with the law, citizens who have already joined ATEC24 or their landlords must fit upgraded interlinked alarms in addition to their ATEC24 alarms.
When you join ATEC24 you are assessed for your need for specialist smoke/heat detectors for deaf people. If needed, this is fitted to the ATEC24 alarm system. If you have an ATEC24 alarm service with linked smoke and heat detectors, and feel your hearing has deteriorated and you now need a specialist smoke/heat detector for deaf people, please contact ATEC24:
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0131 469 5981.
If you are not currently using the ATEC24 service and feel you need a specialist smoke/heat detector for deaf people, please contact Social Care Direct on 0131 200 2324.
How can I find out more?
For video clips, with BSL (British Sign Language) and subtitles (captions), please use these links:
Scottish Government new Fire Alarms Standards advert, includes voice-over (30 seconds; August 2021)
Scottish Government Fire Alarms leaflet (nine minutes; August 2021)
Who can I contact if I still have questions?
Deaf Action Equipment Service
Phone: 0131 556 3128
SMS: 07775 620 757
For advice on fire safety or to ask for a home fire safety visit, please contact the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service on 0800 0731 999. BSL users can contact via Contact Scotland BSL or visit the website using this link:
In Edinburgh, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service will contact Deaf Action for you if they assess that you need a specialist smoke detector for deaf people.
What about carbon monoxide?
The new law states every household should have a carbon monoxide detector in the same room as each carbon-fuelled appliance, like a boiler, fire, heater. This does not need to be linked to the smoke alarms. Gas cookers and hobs do not need a carbon monoxide detector.
You may wish to buy specialist or extra carbon monoxide detectors for deaf people to ensure your safety. Deaf Action do not offer these but can advise you on where you can buy them.
Find more information and contacts for services across Edinburgh by selecting from the options below.