01 January 2014

Northamptonshire County Council's fire and rescue service is asking everyone to make a new year's resolution to test their smoke alarms on the first of every month in 2014 - and beyond.

Many people see January as an opportunity for a fresh start, and safety should be top of that list so this month Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue is encouraging people to make sure they have enough smoke alarms in the home and that they work and to make a note on the first of every month on their new calendars to test the alarms.

About testing your smoke alarms

Checking a smoke alarm only takes a few moments and saves lives. A smoke alarm can give someone the few extra seconds they 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.

People who live in a multi-storey home or a larger property should be aware that a single smoke alarm is not enough. 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:

  • Test your smoke alarm by pushing the button on the first of every month
  • Check the packaging for your smoke alarm to make sure it’s still up to date
  • Make sure there is at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home
  • Fit smoke alarms on landings and hallways and in rooms which have an electrical appliance, eg a heater, or other risk
  • Take a moment to check on your loved ones who may need help to ensure they’re fully protected

Head of Community Services Mark Ainge 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. A smoke alarm can offer vital protection for you and your loved ones, but most people simply fit and forget – they don’t know if it might be coming to the end of its lifespan or not working at all.

“For most of us, there is nothing more important than keeping our loved ones safe and secure. 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 2014. “