A media campaign opens today to encourage homeowners in Scotland to install interlinked heat and smoke alarms before new fire safety laws come into effect next February.

As from February 2022, the tolerable standard will be amended for all Scottish homes to require homeowners to have interlinked alarms. Postponed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the legislation follows the Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017 and aims to significantly reduce casualties by alerting everybody in a property to a fire. Most homes will also require a carbon monoxide alarm.

Private rented and new-build homes must already meet these standards, but from February they will apply to every home in Scotland, regardless of age or tenure.

The rules will require one smoke alarm in the most frequently used room, one in every circulation space on each storey, and a heat alarm in each kitchen. Alarms should be ceiling mounted and interlinked. Where there is a carbon-fuelled appliance, such as a boiler, fire or flue, a carbon monoxide detector is also required, although this does not need to be linked to the fire alarms.

All these alarms can be either long-life sealed and battery operated, or mains-operated. However, mains-operated alarms must be installed by a qualified electrician. If a homeowner opts to install tamper proof long-life lithium battery alarms, the Scottish Government estimates the average total cost to be about £220.

The Scottish Government is providing £500,000 to help eligible older and disabled homeowners with installation, in partnership with Care and Repair Scotland. To be eligible for support, homeowners must live in and own their home that has a council tax banding of A-C, and either be of state pension age and in receipt of guaranteed pension credit, or have a disability and be in a support group for employment and support allowance.

Housing Secretary Shona Robison said: "One death from a house fire is one too many, and improving fire safety remains our utmost priority. In February Scotland will become the first UK nation to require every home to have interlinked fire alarms, which significantly reduce the risk of injury or death. If there is a fire in one room it will set off alarms throughout the property, giving residents more time to escape."