Firefighters ‘smoke out’ house in exercise designed to highlight importance of working smoke alarms

Would you know what to do if you woke up to find a fire had broken out in your home in the middle of the night?

That’s the question firefighters from Avon Fire & Rescue Service have been asking as part of a training exercise.

On Monday 20 December crews filled an empty property in Bristol with synthetic smoke and challenged a number of journalists to find their way out of the property without any assistance.

Station Manager Stuart Matthews said: “The idea was to highlight to people just what they could face if a fire breaks out in their home in the middle of the night.

“With many people having guests to stay over the festive season we want to encourage residents to discuss their escape plans with everyone staying in the house to ensure that in the event of a fire they can find their way out safely. If you are unable to escape, close the door, block any gaps underneath it, get to the window and raise the alarm.

“In a real fire, just two or three breaths of toxic smoke is enough to render someone unconscious, so it is vital that everyone knows what to do.”

The second part of the exercise saw a repeat of the scenario, but this time a smoke detector activated long before the house filled with smoke meaning those inside could escape easily.

Stuart said: “We wanted to highlight the importance of working smoke alarms and encourage people to fit the devices in their homes. A smoke detector can provide an early warning sign that a fire has broken out and can give the occupants vital extra minutes to get out.”