How a spring clean could save your life

Home escape.

Summer may almost be here but there’s still time to squeeze in a final spring clean.

As part of the Fire Kills campaign, Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service is asking people to clear the clutter that may be blocking escape routes and to ensure their family, guests and loved ones know how to get out, stay out and call 999 in the event of a fire.

Working smoke alarms are regularly the heroes in a fire, giving people the necessary warning to get out of their home.

But blocked exits, locked doors or unfamiliar surroundings can shave vital seconds from their escape time.

Emma Roberts, HWFRS Head of Prevention, said: “Just two to three breaths of toxic smoke could leave you unconscious so 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.”

Take some simple steps to help keep your loved ones safe:

  • Think about how you’d all get out in a fire. Making and practising an escape plan will help ensure that everyone can get out, stay out and call 999.
  • Clear your escape routes. Make sure you can 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.
  • Fit at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home so smoke can reach the alarms quicker, giving you more warning time, and test them weekly.

Many of us care for others, children and loved ones. If this is you, 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.

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

Home Fire Safety Checks offer people the opportunity to get invaluable advice from HWFRS about planning escape routes, positioning alarms and ensuring that appropriate working smoke alarms are fitted in their homes.

Complete a free check at