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All boats should have suitable smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

All boats should have suitable smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

During the national Fire Kills Campaign's Boat Fire Safety Week, Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service firefighters will be taking the message to boat owners – It's time for all boats to have effective smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

Fire crews will be visiting boat owners in Herefordshire and Worcestershire handing out Fire Safety on Boats and Carbon Monoxide Safety on Boats leaflets to help crew members know the risks and how to protect themselves.

The heart of the message is that all crew members should understand the risks and follow the published advice from the Boat Safety Scheme in its leaflets and on its website.

Despite all efforts, should fire break out, or a carbon monoxide escape occur, survival or the reduction of damage will depend on the presence of suitable working smoke and CO alarms. The Scheme publishes lists of suitable alarms on its website and has advice from the manufacturers on the best places to fix the devices. Alarms should be tested routinely using the test button and the batteries replaced as necessary and never removed.

Boat Safety Scheme manager, Graham Watts said: "Nationally, in the last 20 years, 30 boaters have been killed in boat fires, and another 30 lost their lives to the highly toxic CO gas.

"It's time everyone in the boating community said 'no more avoidable tragedies'. Being protected by suitable smoke and carbon monoxide alarms should be viewed as a normal part of boat ownership."

Between 1 April 2009 and 31 March 2019, there were 28 boat fires in the HWFRS area. Half of these incidents occurred on motor yachts or other water craft while there were six incidents on barges, and five on houseboats.

Group Commander Mick Cadman from HWFRS said: "While boat fires are relatively infrequent in our Service area, they do have the potential for devastating consequences and so we would urge all boat users to take note of the advice above and do everything they can to stay safe."

He also reminded people to make sure they can give a good indication of their location when aboard a boat, explaining that access to rivers and canals can be difficult, but that good directions can help avoid any unnecessary delay in the event of an emergency.

Boat Fire Safety Week is from 27 May to 2 June 2019.

For further information about general boat fire and CO safety, visit www.boatsafetyscheme.org/stay-safe

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