HWFRS: Working smoke alarms on every level of your home are a must

smoke alarm testing

Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service is reminding people that at least one working smoke alarm on every level of their home is needed to keep them safe.

Many in Herefordshire and Worcestershire know the devices can save lives by providing those vital few seconds needed to escape a fire in their properties.

But, with smoke alarm purchasing the National Fire Chief Council’s theme of the month for August, HWFRS wants to encourage people to ensure they are fitted in the best positions and tested on a weekly basis.

Smoke alarms fail to activate most commonly because the fires were outside their range.

During the last 10 years from 1 June 2013 until 31 May 2023, HWFRS attended 1,456 incidents where no smoke alarm was fitted and 4,269 where one was.

Where they were fitted, 459 were not close enough to the fire to be effective, 83 had a missing or defective alarm battery and in 31 the detector was removed.

In 193 incidents the fire was in an area not covered by the smoke alarm system.

Emma Roberts, HWFRS Head of Prevention, said: “We must all make sure that we have enough smoke alarms to cover the whole of our homes.

“If you don’t have enough or they’re not in the right place, you might not be alerted in time.

“The vast majority of us now have at least one smoke alarm in our homes but early detection and warning is vital to reduce the devastation a fire in the home can cause.

“Please ensure you have at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home, preferably in hallways and landings.

“Placing smoke alarms near sleeping areas and in rooms where there are electrical appliances could give you the extra warning you need.

“Don’t forget that smoke alarms don’t last forever. The power might work but the detection mechanism deteriorates with time.

“So, whether they’re battery-operated or wired to the mains, to work at their best they should be replaced every 10 years.”

HWFRS is also urging carers and people who keep a close eye on less able relatives to check that their homes have enough smoke alarms and that they are in the right places too.

Smoke alarm top tips:

  • install at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home
  • fit your smoke alarms in the right place. The ideal position is on the ceiling, in the middle of a room or on a hallway or landing
  • consider fitting additional alarms in other rooms where there are electrical appliances and near sleeping areas
  • don’t put smoke alarms in or near kitchens and bathrooms where smoke or steam can set them off by accident
  • test each of your alarms by pushing the button every week – why not ‘Test it on a Tuesday’?
  • if you wear a hearing aid can you hear the alarms when you are not wearing the hearing aid, e.g. at night?
  • replace your smoke alarms every 10 years

Anyone who thinks they might qualify for a free Home Fire Safety Visit can call the HWFRS Prevention team on 0800 032 1155.

People can complete a free online Home Fire Safety Check at www.safelincs.co.uk/hfsc/.