Proper placement of smoke detectors is essential. A well-installed smoke detector can make the difference between life and death. Below, you will find a detailed explanation that will help you make your surroundings fireproof. At the bottom of the page, you will find an illustration to make things even more clear.
1. As a minimum guideline, smoke detectors should be installed between sleeping quarters and possible sources of fire, such as living rooms and kitchens.
- In ground-floor houses with one sleeping area, a smoke detector should be placed in the hallway as close as possible to the living room. To ensure that the sound of the alarm is clearly audible in the bedrooms, the smoke detector should be placed at the most 3 meters away from a bedroom door. It's possible that you need to install more than one smoke detector, especially if the corridor is longer than 15 metres.
- In a building with one floor with two sleeping areas, at least two smoke detectors are recommended: one on the outside of each sleeping area. In houses with multiple (intermediate) floors, at least one smoke detector should be installed on the ground floor, between the stairwell and the rooms where there's a fire risk, and one in the passageway of each floor that's part of the escape route (usually the corridor and the landing). CAUTION: Heat detectors can't be used to replace smoke detectors on escape routes. Heat detectors should only be used in the instances listed below and in addition to smoke detectors.
2. Additional detectors should be installed in bedrooms to signal fire outbreaks caused by poor wiring, lamps, electrical appliances and cigarettes.
3. For optimal protection, smoke detectors should be installed in every room of your home, except where other gases, water vapour or a lot of dust are present (such as kitchens, bathrooms, garages, cellars, etc.).
4. In passageways, don't place smoke detectors more than 7.5 meters away from the furthest wall, no more than 7.5 meters from a door that leads to a room where a fire could start, and no more than 7.5 meters from the next smoke detector. In rooms where there's a heat detector, the smoke detector should be placed no more than 5.3 meters from the nearest heat detector.
5. Heat detectors in a room should be placed no more than 5.3 metres away from the furthest wall and no more than 5.3 metres from a door that leads to a room where a fire could start, and no more than 5.3 metres from the next heat detector.
6. Since it's impossible to predict how and where a fire will occur, the best place for a detector is usually in the middle of a room or corridor. If it is necessary to mount the smoke detector to a wall, make sure that the device's sensor is 15 to 30 cm below the ceiling and that the bottom of the device hangs above door height and above other openings. CAUTION: Do not mount heat detectors to the wall!
7. In a room with a slanting or tapered ceilings or in a gabled house, the smoke detectors should be mounted 30 cm lower than the highest point of the ceiling. "Stagnant air" in the ceiling ridge may prevent smoke from reaching the sensor in time. Closed doors and other obstacles may also prevent smoke or heat from reaching the sensor. It's also possible that an inhabitant on one side of a closed door won't be able to hear the alarm on the other side of the door. Install enough detectors to prevent this.