Northamptonshire County Council's fire and rescue service is linking with the national Fire Kills campaign to urge people to make a potentially life-saving move when they change their clocks this weekend (Sunday 25th March) by taking a moment to test their smoke alarms too.
It is easy to notice when a clock stops ticking, but it’s not so easy to be sure that a smoke alarm works. The battery could be flat or may even have been removed for use in another device - the only way to find out is to test it.
There were 381 accidental house fires in Northamptonshire between April 2010 and March 2011. These resulted in two deaths and 23 serious injuries.
The county’s fire and rescue service hopes to reduce other incidents by encouraging residents to add this simple smoke alarm check to the clock-change routine.
Community protection officer Lisa Bryan said “You’re four times more likely to die in a fire without a working smoke alarm, but only half of people who own one say they take the time to test it regularly. With this campaign we want alarm testing to become a vital part of the household routine.
“We’re all losing sleep at the start of British Summer Time, but testing your smoke alarm could save you from losing a lot more. As you put your clocks forward around Sunday 25th March, take an extra moment to push the button – it could save lives.”
Listen out for radio and press adverts supporting the ‘Change your clocks, Test your smoke alarms’ message as part of the national Fire Kills campaign. An online video has also been released showing a mantelpiece clock melting in the heat of a house fire – bringing home the harsh reality of the consequences of a fire in the home.
The fire and rescue service offer the following tips to help keep people safe in the home:
- A working smoke alarm can buy you valuable time to get out, stay out and call 999. Make sure you fit one on every level of your home and test them regularly.
- Make testing your smoke alarm part of your household routine.
- Test the alarm by pressing the button regularly; change your battery once a year or invest in a 10-year alarm; and clean the alarm casing twice a year to ensure dust isn't blocking the sensor.
- Whatever happens, never remove the battery in your smoke alarm.
- Make sure that everyone in your home knows what to do in a fire and practise your escape route.
- For more information visit the Fire Kills campaign’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/firekills
For an extra nudge to test a smoke alarm regularly, try setting an automatic reminder. Safelincs, in partnership with the Fire Kills has created a free service that reminds you, by email or text, when it’s time to test your smoke alarm, change the battery or renew the unit. The service is completely free and can be cancelled at any time. www.safelincs.co.uk/reminders