With the New Year underway, Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) is asking people to make the monthly testing of their smoke alarms a New Year’s resolution they stick to.
Smoke alarms can give you the extra few seconds needed to escape a fire, and there are a few simple steps to follow to ensure all-round protection for your family and home.
In properties with more than one storey, at least one smoke alarm is needed on each level. Most alarms need replacing every ten years, and testing alarms at least once a month means you know they are working properly and can do their job.
Lisa Bryan, manager of the NFRS Home Safety Team, says: “At this time of year, many people are 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 an alarm might be coming to the end of its lifespan, or not working at all.”
Protecting what matters
Last year, in nearly half of all fires in the home where the smoke alarm did not give a warning, it was because the alarm wasn’t close enough to detect the fire. Missing or flat batteries were another major cause of alarms not sounding.
Lisa adds: “Having enough smoke alarms, in the right places, really does save lives. For most of us, there’s nothing more important than keeping loved ones safe and secure. So if your alarm is getting past its best or any floors are missing alarms of their own, make it your New Year’s resolution to fit new ones, test them on the first of every month and protect those you love in 2018.”
In privately rented accommodation, the landlord is responsible for making sure the property has working smoke alarms at the start of each tenancy. After this point, tenants should test all alarms at least once a month and report any faults to their landlord.
Ensure your smoke alarms can do their job by:
- Making sure there is at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home.
- Fitting smoke alarms on landings and hallways and near bedrooms. Also consider fitting alarms in rooms with electrical appliances such as heaters or chargers, or other fire risks.
- Testing your smoke alarms by pushing the button every month. Circle the first of every month on your new calendar as a reminder.
- Replacing smoke alarm batteries as soon as they start to fade, and never take batteries out of alarms for any reason.
- Checking that your smoke alarms are less than 10 years old. If they are older, replace them.
- Taking a moment to check on loved ones who may need help to ensure they’re fully protected.