Check friends’ and relatives’ smoke alarms on Older People’s Day

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1st October is Older People’s Day and Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service is encouraging people who support older friends and relatives to check their alarms are up to date. 

Most people know a working smoke alarm can save lives by providing those vital few seconds needed to escape a house fire.

However, despite the majority of homes having at least one working smoke alarm, smoke alarms only alert householders to just one in every three fires in the home in England. The most common reason a smoke alarm fails to activate is because the fire is outside its range.

One smoke alarm may not be enough to provide people with the best chance of escaping a fire in the home.

During the last ten years (1 Jan 2012 – 31 Dec 2021), HWFRS attended 2,029 incidents involving people over the age of 65 – 258 of them involving fires.

For this reason, Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) is encouraging people across the two counties to think about the smoke alarms in their home on Older People’s Day.

Emma Roberts, Head of Prevention at HWFRS, said:

We must all make sure that we have enough smoke alarms in our homes and that they are in the right places. If the whole home isn’t covered, in a fire people might not get the early warning they need.

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

That’s why it’s so important that people have enough smoke alarms and that they are in the right places. That will give them the best chance of alerting you and your loved ones to a fire.”

She continued:

“There needs to be at least one working smoke alarm on every level of the home, preferably in hallways and landings.

“Placing smoke alarms near sleeping areas and in rooms where there are electrical appliances could provide vital extra warning. Also, remember that smoke alarms don’t last forever. The power might work, but the mechanism deteriorates with time, so whether they are battery operated or wired to the mains, to work at their best they should be replaced every ten years.”

HWFRS offers these smoke alarm top tips:

  • test others’ smoke alarms if they are unable to test their own
  • install a smoke alarm on every level of your home
  • 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 alarms in or near kitchens and bathrooms where smoke or steam can set them off by accident
  • install a heat alarm in your kitchen
  • replace your smoke alarms every ten years and test them weekly

Emma added:

“Older People’s Day is the perfect opportunity for carers and people who keep a close eye on older or less able friends and relatives to check that their homes have enough smoke alarms, that they’re in the right places and that they are still working properly.

There is plenty of fire safety advice and at,and you can also contact our Prevention Team on 0800 032 1155 to see if you might qualify for a free Home Fire Safety visit.

“You can also complete a FREE online Home Fire Safety check now by following the link on our website. This easy-to-follow home fire safety check will take you through your home a room at a time – the simple questions will help you spot fire risks as you go around your home.”