Double your chance of escaping a fire with these handy tips
Did you know you can cut the risk of dying in a house fire by 50% with a working smoke alarm? Smoke alarms will alert you, and anyone else in the building, if there is a fire. This extra time could make all the difference and allow you and your family to escape from danger.
It’s scary but true that 36% of fire related incidents in 2016 and 2017 happened in buildings with no smoke alarm at all. And for those homes that do have a smoke alarm, an estimated third of residents have never tested them.
The fact is that you’re twice as likely to die in a house fire if there are no working smoke alarms.
When a smoke alarm sounds you have around 2 minutes to make your escape. After this, fires spread fast, making a safe escape very difficult. Make sure that you and your family can escape quickly, with a smoke alarm on every floor of your home.
4 tips to maintain your smoke alarm
Protect your family easily and cheaply with a working smoke alarm.
Make sure your alarm will work in the event of a fire with these four safety checks.
1. Once a month – test your smoke alarm batteries
Press and hold the test button until it beeps to see if the batteries are still working. No beep? Replace your batteries immediately.
2. Every 6 months – dust off your alarm
A dusty smoke alarm stops smoke reaching the internal sensor. Keep your smoke alarm clean by gently brushing or vacuuming it twice a year.
3. Every year – replace your batteries
Change your batteries every 12 months, to reduce the risk of an alarm failure from missing or dead batteries.
4. Every 10 years – replace your alarm
After 10 years your smoke alarm has been working continually for over 87,000 hours. The sensors will be polluted with dust and dirt, even if they look clean. Be safe. Replace the whole alarm every 10 years – or ask your landlord to do so.
Electricity is dangerous
Faulty electrics such as bad wiring, appliances and overloaded sockets are responsible for more than half of all fires in the UK each year. Look out for clues such as flickering lights, hot plugs and sockets, scorch marks and fuses that trip for no obvious reasons.
If you or someone you know tampers with electrical equipment, such as bypassing an electricity meter, exposed wires and connections can get very hot. This is a common cause of serious fires.
Tampered meters can also cause appliances to become ‘live’ to touch, making them overheat and malfunction. Anyone who touches them is at risk of electric shocks and burns, and there is also a very serious chance of a fire starting.
If you’re struggling to pay bills, tampering with your meter or substituting heating and lighting for candles and flames puts you at a higher risk of a fire outbreak. For more information for what you can do if you need extra support with your energy bills, read this article: Save money on bills
Help with smoke alarms
If you’re renting your home, it’s a legal requirement for your landlord to have at least one smoke alarm installed on each floor of the property. If your landlord hasn’t supplied smoke alarms, ask them to install one on each floor of your home, and remind them that it’s the law!
If your landlord fails to comply, they could face fines of up to £5,000.
Visit the Fire Service website for more information on the types of smoke alarm available, where you can buy them and how to install them.
If you’re worried about forgetting to test your smoke alarms, you can set up a free smoke alarm reminder with Safelincs.