“Heard about the law change?” asks a new Scottish government advert. “All Scottish homes need interlinked fire alarms by February.” New legislation, brought in following the Grenfell tragedy, means that 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. But when do we have to do it by? How much does it cost? And is there any help? We have the answers…

When do I have to do this by?

February, 2022. Originally the rules were due to come into effect earlier this year but were delayed. From February all homeowners will be required to have interlinked alarms. 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.

Why do we need them?

These alarms significantly reduce casualties by alerting everybody in a property to a fire. Alasdair Perry, Head of Prevention and Protection at the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Having the earliest possible warning of a fire in the home can and has saved lives and property. Having interlinked alarms installed will allow everyone, anywhere in the house to take action as quickly as possible.”

How do I know if I’ve got the right alarms?

Look for a recognised brand and reputable retailer and check that each alarm complies with the following standards. Smoke alarms: BS EN14604:2005. Heat alarms: BS 5446-2:2003. Carbon monoxide detectors: British Kitemark EN 50291-1.

Haven’t some homes already had to do this?

That’s right. 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.

How much is it going to cost?

According to the Scottish Government, “the cost for an average three bedroom house which requires three smoke alarms, one heat alarm and one carbon monoxide detector is estimated to be about £220”. However, these are the costs for the type of alarms that can be installed by the homeowner without the need for an electrician, which are tamper proof long-life lithium battery alarms. If you get an electrician to install mains-operated alarms it’s going to cost more.

I can’t afford that. Is there any help?

For some. 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 from Care & Repair Scotland, you must live and own your home that has a Council Tax banding of A-C. You must also 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.