How many smoke alarms do you have?
Latest fire statistics reveal that one smoke alarm may not be enough to provide you with the best chance of escaping a fire in the home.
It’s clear that most people know a working smoke alarm can save lives by providing those vital few seconds needed to escape a fire in the home. But, despite the majority of homes (95 per cent) having at least one working smoke alarm in their home, smoke alarms alerted householders to a fire in England in only a third of cases. The most common reason a smoke alarm failed to activate was because the fire was outside its range.
For this reason, the national fire safety campaign and Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service is encouraging people in Herefordshire and Worcestershire to have a think about the smoke alarms in their home.
“We must all make sure that we have enough smoke alarms to cover our whole homes,” said Emma Roberts, head of prevention at HWFRS. “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. That’s why it’s so important that you have enough smoke alarms and that they are in the right place to have the best chance of alerting you and your loved ones to a fire.”
Emma Roberts continued: “You should make sure you have at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home, preferably in hallways and landings. And placing smoke detectors near to sleeping areas and in rooms where there are electrical appliances could give you the extra warning you need.
“It’s also important to remember that smoke alarms don’t last forever. The power might work, but the detection 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.”
Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service offered these five smoke-alarm top tips:
- Install at least one 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.
- Replace your smoke alarms every ten years.
HWFRS is also urging carers and people who keep a close eye on less able relatives to check that these homes have enough smoke alarms in the right places too.
“And finally,” added Emma Roberts, “don’t forget to test your smoke alarms every week – Press to test, weekly is best”
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/.