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How a spring clean could save your life!

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It may be the last month of spring, but there’s still time to squeeze in a final spring clean.

As part of the Government’s Fire Kills campaign, Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) is reminding people to clear out the clutter that may be blocking their escape routes from a building and make sure their family, guests and loved ones know how to get out.

Everyone needs to ‘Get Out, Stay Out, and Call 999’ if there is a fire.

“Working smoke alarms are without doubt the ‘heroes’ in a fire, alerting people to the need to evacuate their home in a fire,” said Station Commander Amy Bailey of the HWFRS Community Risk Department. “But if there are blocked exits, locked doors or unfamiliar surroundings, they can lose precious seconds in escaping.

“And it is known that people have heard a neighbour’s smoke alarm and ignored it with tragic consequences, while children may not be woken by smoke or fire alarm tones.”

Checking smoke alarms and escape routes

We all know we need to find the time to test our smoke alarms, but make this the week when you check out your home and take a few simple steps to help keep your loved ones safe:

  • Think about how you’d all get out in case of a fire - making an escape plan and practising it will help ensure that everyone can Get Out, Stay Out and Call 999.
  • Fit at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home so that smoke can reach the alarms quicker, giving you more warning time.
  • Test your smoke alarms monthly. Smoke alarms can save your life, but only if they work.
  • Clear your escape routes.
  • Make sure you’re able to escape without tripping over, to ensure a speedy exit
  • Keep your door and window keys in a known and accessible place.
  • Make sure everyone knows where the door and window keys are kept so they can reach
  • them easily and get out quicker in case of a fire.

Make an escape plan for others in the building

Many of us care for others – children, the elderly and loved ones. If this is you then consider the following:

  • How will they get out? Plan an escape route that works for them and think of any difficulties they may have, or help they may need getting out. Would they benefit from a torch to light their way or a stair rail?
  • Where is the best place to go if the worst happens and they can’t escape? This is especially important if they have trouble moving around or can’t get downstairs on their own.
  • Who’s your ‘Escape champ’? Nominate someone in your home (perhaps a child) to be the ‘Escape champ’. Role-playing escape routes regularly and giving children the responsibility to keep escape routes clear makes fire safety more fun and engaging.

‘Think children’

  • Experience has shown that children may not be woken by smoke or fire alarm tones.
  • It is important that children are never left alone in a house.
  • Families should have a fire escape plan that is rehearsed, so that everyone knows how to escape when fire occurs.
  • The immediate priority when a smoke alarm goes off or fire occurs is to ensure that any sleeping children are woken from sleep and immediately taken to a safe location outside the property, along with all other occupants.
  • The fire and rescue service should always be called without delay, no matter how small the fire.

SC Bailey added: “Every second counts when escaping a fire. Having working smoke alarms and knowing the escape plan in an emergency could make all the difference.

“If you have dependents, or someone less able, to care for, it could take more time to get out, stay out and call 999. Make sure you’re always prepared, your exits are clear, and everyone knows what to do if the worst should happen.”

To find out more fire safety information, please visit www.gov.uk/firekills.


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