Firefighters give good cause for alarm

Smoke alarmAvon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) is urging anyone planning some DIY this spring to include smoke alarms in their shopping lists.

AF&RS want people to consider the number of smoke alarms they have in their homes, and where they are fitted.

In 2011/12 in the Avon area, firefighters attended 622 dwelling fires, 250 of which involved homes with no smoke alarms at all.

There were 53 incidents where there was an alarm but it did not raise the alarm and 39 incidents were alarms were there but did not work, for reasons including defective batteries, missing batteries, being turned off or not being set up correctly.

Nationally no smoke alarm was present in 37% of dwelling fires in Great Britain in 2010-11. These fires saw 112 deaths and 2,500 injuries.

Station Manager Stuart Matthews from the AF&RS Community Safety Team, said: “It’s vital that smoke alarms are placed so that they have the very best chance of alerting us to a fire.

“You should make sure you have at least one alarm on every level of your home, preferably in hallways and landings.

“Whether they are battery operated or wired to the mains, to ensure they are protecting you properly, they should be replaced every ten years.

“And remember to test your smoke alarm at least once a week to ensure they are working properly and replace the batteries if necessary.”

AF&RS will visit the homes of the most vulnerable members of the community to discuss fire safety measures. To see if you qualify for a free Home Fire Safety Visit, call 0117 926 2061.

Smoke alarms - Top tips

  • Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home.
  • The ideal position is on the ceiling, in the middle of a room or on a hallway or landing.
  • Don’t put alarms in or near kitchens or bathrooms where smoke or steam can set them off by accident.
  • Test your alarms once a week, and fit new batteries if required.
  • Replace your smoke alarms every ten years.

Additional statistics

  • No smoke alarm was present in 16,400 (37%) dwelling fires in Great Britain in 2010-11.  These fires saw 112 deaths and 2,500 injuries.
  • In 16,200 dwelling fires (36%) a device operated, and raised the alarm.
  • In 4,400 cases (10%) the device activated but did not raise the alarm.
  • In 7,800 cases (17% of all dwelling fires) the smoke alarm failed to operate.
  • In the AF&RS area, for 2011-12, there were 53 incidents where there were smoke alarms, but they did not activate, either because the fire was not close enough to the detector or the fire happened in an area not covered by the system.