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Free smoke alarms for Edinburgh's low income pensioners

Man installing smoke alarm

Published on 23 November 2021 01:43 PM

A charity is urging Edinburgh homeowners to apply for free smoke alarms before the deadline for new Scottish Government safety standards.

Care and Repair Edinburgh, which is part of the Age Scotland family, will supply and fit interlinked alarms, worth up to £270, at no charge for those on low incomes who fit certain criteria.

Every household in Scotland must have interlinked smoke alarms by February 2022 to comply with the new standards brought in in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy. Around 1.5 million homes are affected, bringing them into line with existing standards for the private rental sector.

Age Scotland has supported the new legislation, but warned that tens of thousands of householders would struggle to pay for the new alarms, which can cost up to £500 if privately fitted. 

The deadline was initially set for early 2021, but was extended for a year after Age Scotland and other organisations expressed concerns about public awareness and difficulties complying due to the pandemic.

Care and Repair Edinburgh was awarded £50,000 in Scottish Government funding to help older people and those with disabilities on lower incomes fit the alarms.

Every home must have ceiling-mounted alarms in the main living area, hallways and landings, as well as a heat alarm in the kitchen. These must be interlinked, meaning if one goes off, they all do.

Alison Strachan, Head of Care and Repair Edinburgh, said: “The new standards are a welcome step to improving safety for all homes, but we know thousands of Edinburgh homeowners on lower incomes are worried about how to pay for them.

“Age Scotland’s helpline has taken numerous calls from older people on fixed incomes who say they will struggle to afford the new smoke alarms. Many are also concerned about how to get them professionally fitted in time for the February deadline.

“The good news is, we have £50,000 worth of funding to help homeowners who meet the Scottish Government's eligibility criteria. Our qualified fitters will supply and fit alarms that meet the new standards, completely free of charge.

“We would urge anyone who receives Guaranteed Pension Credit or Employment Support Allowance (Support Group), owns their own home, and lives in council tax bands A, B, or C to get in touch to see if we can help.”

Anyone wanting to find out more can visit cre.scot or call 0131 337 1111.

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