In the UK there are around 36,500 home fires a year. Luckily this number has been falling in recent years with thanks to initiatives such as the Governments Fire Safety Campaign which emphasise the importance of smoke alarms in the home. You are twice as likely to die in a house fire if you do not have working smoke alarms fitted. A smoke alarm should be fitted on every level of your home and you should remember to test them every week.
There are two types of smoke alarms available:
Ionisation alarms, these are the cheapest and most readily available and they are very sensitive to flaming fires (ones that burn fiercely such as chip-pan fires) and they will detect this type of fire before smoke gets too thick.
Optical alarms, these are more expensive and more effective at detecting slow-burning fires (such as smouldering foam-filled furniture or overheated wiring); they are less likely to go off accidentally and so are best for ground-floor hallways and for homes on one level.