23 October 2012

Northamptonshire County Council’s fire and rescue service and the Fire Kills campaign are reminding people to test their smoke alarms when they are changing their clocks this weekend (Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th October).

The twice-yearly clock change is a task that everybody takes for granted and many British households will already have turning the clocks back on their to-do list for the next weekend.

Statistics show that people are more than four times as likely to die in a fire if their smoke alarm is not working, so it is worth ensuring that the simple act of testing alarms becomes a household routine too.

There were 327 accidental fires in the home in Northamptonshire last year, which resulted in many people being injured and one fatality. The fire and rescue service hopes that by adding this simple smoke alarm check to the clock-change routine, these numbers can be reduced in the future.

Fire and rescue service prevention team manager Warren Ellison said: “Everyone notices when a clock stops ticking, but the condition of your smoke alarm isn’t so obvious .The battery could be flat or you may have forgotten that you have removed it and used it for a child’s toy. The only way to be sure it’s working is to test it.

“As you put your clocks back that weekend, think about fire safety. Many people will get a chair or stepladder out to change their own or a loved one’s clock, just take an extra moment to push the button on the smoke alarm too– it could save a life.
“We’re all looking forward to getting that extra hour’s sleep at the end of British Summer Time, knowing that your smoke alarm is working will help you to sleep that little bit better.”

Help keep stay safe at home by following these simple steps:

  • A working smoke alarm can buy valuable time to get out, stay out and call 999. Make sure one is fitted on every level of the house and test them regularly.
  • Make testing the smoke alarm part of the household routine. Check the alarm by pressing the button regularly; change the 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 a smoke alarm.
  • Make sure that everyone in the house knows what to do in a fire and practise the escape route.

For more information visit the Fire Kills campaign’s Facebook page at facebook.com/firekills


For an extra nudge to test smoke alarms regularly, people can set an automatic reminder. Safelincs, in partnership with the Fire Kills campaign has created a free service that reminds subscribers, by email or text, when it’s time to test their 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