11 January 2016

Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service would like to urge people to remember to regularly test their smoke alarms.

In the financial year 2014-2015, more than one quarter of smoke alarms failed to operate in Northamptonshire house fires.

There were a total of 419 house fires, in which 253 alarms were fitted, but 68 of these failed to work.

Test your alarm

These figures emphasise the need to remind people about the importance of testing smoke alarms regularly.

This reminder coincides with the launch of a national, Fire Kills advertising campaign, launched by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

This advertising campaign will run for one month from today, to fit in with the fact that there is normally an increase in fire-related emergencies and deaths during the winter months, compared to the rest of the year.

Nationally, there were more than 160 deaths from accidental fires in the home last year. By simply testing smoke alarms, many more lives could be saved.

The adverts will feature friendly smoke alarms, which will tell the public to make time for their home’s ‘unsung heroes’ by testing their alarms once a month.


A working smoke alarm can buy you valuable time to get out, stay out and call 999. But only half of all householders who own a smoke alarm say that they test it is working on a regular basis.

Area manager Mark Ainge, of the Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service and Northamptonshire Police Prevention and Community Protection Department, said: “The chances of surviving a house fire are greatly increased when a working smoke alarm is present.

“Unfortunately, so many people either fail to install smoke alarms or neglect to test the battery life in the alarms. It takes seconds to test a smoke alarm and, if it is working properly, it can give you valuable minutes to escape your property before a fire becomes too widespread. Families and individuals should make sure they make testing their smoke alarms part of their household routines.”

Three steps

Make sure your smoke alarm is working in three easy steps:

1) Test your alarm by pressing the button once a month.

2) Change the batteries once a year if your alarm has removable batteries.

3) Clean the alarm’s casing twice a year to ensure dust isn’t blocking the sensor.


  • Whatever happens, never remove the batteries in your smoke alarm unless you are replacing them.
  • Make sure that everyone in your home knows what to do in a fire and knows your escape route.
  • For more information, visit the Fire Kills campaign’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/firekills

Smoke alarms can be installed for people by Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service as part of Home Fire Safety Checks, which are carried out at the homes of people who are less able to help themselves or who are seen as at risk.

An assessment form can be filled out by visiting our Fire and Rescue Service page and clicking on the Home Fire Safety section. Those without internet access can call 0300 126 1000 (option 5) and speak to someone at the Customer Contact Centre who will fill in the form over the phone.