PEOPLE are being urged to review the smoke alarms in their homes – both in terms of how many they have and to ensure they are working effectively.
October is Check Your Smoke Alarm Month in the Fire Kills campaign, so Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (WFRS) is urging people to test their smoke alarms. Research shows only 26 per cent of all households which own an alarm, test them on a regular basis.
Figures also illustrate despite the majority of homes (over 90 per cent) having at least one working smoke alarm, they only alerted householders to just one in every three fires in the home in England.
The most common reason a smoke alarm failed to activate was because the fire was outside its range so one may not be enough to provide people with the best chance of escaping a fire in the home.
Most people know a working smoke alarm can save lives by providing those vital few seconds needed to escape a house fire.
Emma Roberts, HWFRS prevention manager, said: “We all need to make sure that we have enough smoke alarms in our homes and that they are in the right places.
“If your whole home isn’t covered, you could be leaving it to chance and, in a fire, you might not get that vital early warning.”
She added successfully getting out of a house fire often depended on early detection and warning which was why the right number of alarms which had been regularly tested was key.
Smoke alarms should be tested weekly and replaced every ten years as their effectiveness deteriorates with time.
Advice issued by HWFRS includes having one smoke alarm for every level or floor, the ideal position is on the ceiling, in the middle of a room or on a hallway or landing and additional alarms should be considered where there are electrical appliances and near sleeping areas.
Alarms should not be positioned too close to kitchens or bathrooms where they can be triggered by smoke or steam by accident and heat alarms should instead be used in the kitchen.
Emma also urged carers and people who support less able or older relatives to check those homes have enough smoke alarms in the right places.
Anyone is welcome to have a free Home Fire Safety visit by calling 0800 032 1155 and pressing option 2.