Fire chiefs urge residents to test their smoke alarms

Residents are being urged to test their smoke alarms as they are four times more likely to die in a house fire if they do not have a working alarm.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service is supporting the national Fire Kills campaign which asks people to mark the start of British Summer Time this weekend by ‘Tick Tock Testing’ their smoke alarms when they change their clocks.

The national campaign also highlights the dangers of smoke – responsible for more than half of all deaths in accidental fires in homes.

Having a working smoke alarm will give you and your family the valuable time you need to get out, stay out and call 999.

Every household should have a working smoke alarm on every level of their home and they should be checked at least monthly so they will work in the event of a fire.

In 2013/14 Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service attended 142 house fires where the smoke alarm did not work and two people lost their lives and 34 were injured.

Group Manager Dave Jefferson, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Most people think they would be woken up by the smell of smoke or would be alerted by someone if there was a fire in their house when, in reality, without a working smoke alarm, they would ‘drown’ in toxic smoke.

“Just one or two breaths of toxic smoke can lead to unconsciousness.

“Smoke can also quickly envelop you in a fire and dramatically reduces your visibility making an escape difficult.

“Smoke alarms can be the difference between life and death – but only if they are working; so ‘Tick Tock Test’ yours this weekend when you change your clocks. Also ensure you have an escape plan in the event of a fire in your home and make sure everyone who lives there knows it.”

A simple push of the ‘test’ button only takes seconds, so fire officers are asking people to add it to their spring to-do list as it could save their life and the lives of family, friends and neighbours – especially older people who need help testing.

Everyone can join in and pledge to test via the Fire Kills Facebook page or online and mobile phone adverts and on TWFRS’s www.twfire.gov.uk or www.facebook.com/twfrs or www.twitter.com/tyne_wear_frs