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.
Most people know that working smoke alarms save lives. They provide the vital early warning that allows for a safe escape and a tragedy avoided. But, despite the majority of homes (89%) having at least one working smoke alarm, smoke alarms only alerted householders to just under half of fires in the home in England. The most common reason a smoke alarm failed to activate was because the fire was outside its range.
For this reason, the Fire Kills campaign and Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service (DWFRS) are encouraging people across Dorset and Wiltshire to think about the smoke alarms in their home.
Area Manager Seth Why, the Head of Fire Safety, said: “We all must make sure that we have enough smoke alarms in our homes and that they are in the right place. If your whole home isn’t covered, you could be leaving it to chance and, in a fire, you might not get the early warning that you 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 you 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.”
He added: “You should make sure you have at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home, preferably in hallways and landings. 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.”
DWFRS suggests these 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.
- Don’t forget to test your smoke alarms every month – they can only do their job if they’re in good working order.
DWFRS is 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.
Free Safe & Well checks
To help, DWFRS offers free Safe & Well checks to those living within Dorset and Wiltshire. This is a totally free service where an advisor can visit you in your home, at a convenient time to see what can be done together to make you safer. The advisor will also have a conversation with you around improving your health and well-being.
DWFRS will fit free smoke alarms where required and offer advice to make you and your family safer and healthier in your home. The appointment normally lasts about an hour and covers topics such as:
- Using electricity safely
- Cooking safely
- Making an escape plan
- What to do if there is a fire
- Keeping children safe
- Good practice – night time routine and other points relevant to you
- Identifying and discussing any further support you may need if necessary
For more information about smoke alarms and Safe & Well checks, please visit www.dwfire.org.uk or call 0800 038 2323.