Many of us see January as an opportunity for a fresh start, and safety should be top of the list. As such, the Dorset & Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service is encouraging everyone to make sure they have enough smoke alarms in the home and that they work – it only takes a few seconds to check and it can save lives.
Smoke alarms can give you the few extra seconds you would need to escape in a fire. While the majority of homes across the country now have an alarm fitted, most people are not aware that the average alarm has a lifespan of just ten years and then needs replacing.
If you live in a larger property, a single smoke alarm is simply not enough, with the recommendation being at least one at every level. Last year, in nearly half of all fires in the home where the smoke alarm did not give a warning, the reason was that the alarm was not close enough to detect the fire. Missing or flat batteries were another major cause.
To keep your alarms in working order, the Service says:
- Make sure there is at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home.
- Test your smoke alarms by pushing the button every month.
- Check that your smoke alarms are less than 10 years old.
- Fit smoke alarms on landings and hallways and near bedrooms as a minimum; if you have rooms with a specific fire risk, such as open fires, heaters or lots of electrical chargers, install here as well.
- Take a moment to check on your loved ones who may need help to ensure they’re fully protected.
Safe & well manager Vikki Thomas said, “At this time of year, many people will be thinking of what they can do – big or small – to make a fresh start and improve their lives, homes and wellbeing. Smoke alarms can offer vital protection for you and your loved ones, but most people simply fit and forget – they don’t know if the unit might be coming to the end of its lifespan or not working at all.
“…So, if your alarm is getting past its best or your top floor is missing an alarm of its own, make your New Year’s resolution to fit new ones, test them on the first of every month and protect your loved ones in 2018.”
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