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How many smoke alarms do you have in your home?

With the New Year underway, Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service is asking you to make fire safety a priority by ensuring you have working smoke alarms fitted to the ceiling on every level of your home.

It is clear that most people know that a working smoke alarm can save lives by providing valuable early warning of a fire, giving vital extra seconds needed to Get Out, Stay Out and Call 999; however, statistics show that despite the majority of homes (91%) having at least one working smoke alarm, smoke alarms only alerted householders to a fire in England on 45% of occasions. The most common reason for this is that the smoke alarm failed to activate due to the alarm being out of range of the fire.

With this in mind, this January, the Service would like everyone to make a New Year’s resolution to check they have smoke alarms fitted on every level of the home and that they are tested every week. It only takes a few seconds and saves lives.

Station Manager Mark Whitelaw said: “Early detection and warning of a fire is vital in protecting you and your loved ones from the devastation a fire can cause, that’s why we are appealing to people this January to make a New Year’s Resolution to ensure they have smoke alarms on every level of their home, that they are fitted in the correct place and that they are tested on a weekly basis.

“The latest research shows that in cases where smoke alarms failed to alert occupants to a fire, it was because they weren’t fitted in the right place. Smoke alarms should always be fitted to the ceiling, the best place being hallways, landings, near to sleeping areas, and in rooms where there are electrical appliances.

“It’s also important to remember that smoke alarms don’t last forever. The power might work, but the detection mechanism deteriorates with time. So whether they are battery operated or wired to the mains, to work at their best they should be replaced every ten years.”

To help keep you and your loved ones safe from fire here are our smoke alarm top tips:

  • Install at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home.
  • Test your smoke alarms weekly.
  • Fit your smoke alarms in the right place. The ideal position is on the ceiling in the middle of a room, or in a hallway or landing.
  • Consider fitting additional alarms in other rooms where there are electrical appliances and near sleeping areas.
  • Do not put alarms in, or near kitchens and bathrooms where smoke or steam can set them off by accident – consider a heat alarm for kitchens instead.
  • Replace your smoke alarms every ten years.

Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service is also urging carers and people who keep a close eye on elderly or vulnerable relatives, friends or neighbours to consider their fire safety too. Station Manager Whitelaw went onto say: “With the current Covid restrictions we realise people aren’t visiting relatives, neighbours and friends as much, but it’s essential we all continue to take a minute to check they are safe.

“Give them a call and speak to them about fire safety – ask them how many smoke alarms they have? When they were last tested and ensure they know what to do in the event of a fire – they should never attempt to tackle the fire, they should get out of the house, stay out and call 999 immediately. 

“If they aren’t able to check their alarms themselves, please consider making a socially distanced visit to check their home is fire safe.”