Thursday, 27 March 2014

Is it high time you tested your smoke alarms?

The clock could be ticking for you and your family if you don’t make time to test your smoke alarms.

You are at least four times more likely to die in a fire at home if you don’t have smoke alarms or you have them, but they don’t work. That is why East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service (ESFRS) is backing the national Fire Kills – Tick, Tock Test campaign and urging all households to test their smoke alarms when they change the clocks this weekend (29/30th March 2014).

Our firefighters regularly attend incidents where lives have been saved by correctly positioned and working smoke alarms. Recent examples include:

·         In January a family, including six children, escaped safely from a house fire in the early hours of the morning after an electrical fault caused a blaze in the roof of a house in Mayfield. Smoke alarms gave the family the warning they needed to get everyone out safely and call the fire service.

·         In March a family from Saltdean got out safely after a kitchen fire took hold in the early hours of the morning. They had been woken by smoke alarms fitted to the property, which suffered significant damage.

To give you the best chance of getting out safely, make sure that smoke alarms are fitted to every level in your home and that they are tested regularly. The twice-yearly clock change acts as a handy reminder, but we recommend that you test your alarms every month if possible.

Other top tips include:
  • Fit smoke alarms on landings and hallways and in rooms where there are electrical appliances, such as electric heaters, that could present a risk.
  • Make sure that you can hear your smoke alarms throughout the house, particularly from the bedrooms – even if the door is closed.
  • Have a well-worked evacuation plan in place and share it with everyone you live with. You need to be able to get out quickly and safely when your smoke alarms sound.
  • Keep all exits clear and place door and window keys where they can be easily found.
  • Check that your smoke alarm is in date – a recommended date of replacement should be printed on the casing. If in doubt, replace it.
East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service provides free Home Safety Visits to eligible households which offer valuable fire safety home advice and, where appropriate, free smoke alarms to vulnerable members of the community. Our Community Safety Team has distributed and installed more than 105,000 domestic smoke alarms since 2004.

Further information about smoke alarms is available on our website. You can also register for a Home Safety Visit on our website or by calling the team on 0800 1777 069.

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