Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service (MFRS) is urging local residents to test their smoke alarms to ensure they stay safe in the home.
The initiative is part of a national campaign, launched this week and running until April 6, which will highlight how having working smoke alarms can save a life in the event of a fire in the home.
Smoke alarms can give someone the few extra seconds they need to escape in a fire. While the majority of homes across Merseyside now have an alarm fitted, many people are not aware that the average alarm has a lifespan of just ten years and then needs replacing.
As part of the campaign, MFRS is encouraging people in Merseyside to test the smoke alarms at least once a month, not only in their own home but also in those of vulnerable friends and relatives.
Residents should also try to ensure that smoke alarms are installed on every level of the home, not just in the hallway or on the first floor landing.
A single smoke alarm may simply not be enough. You should ensure you can hear them throughout your home, particularly when asleep.
Last year nationally, in almost 50 per cent of all fires in the home where the smoke alarm did not give a warning, the reason was that the alarm was not close enough to detect the fire. Missing or flat batteries were another major cause.
Mark Thomas, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service Group Manager for Prevention, said: “We know that smoke alarms save lives. However a smoke alarm that isn’t working or cannot be heard properly offers very little extra protection in the home.
“Analysis suggests that you are at least eight times more likely to die in a fire in the home if you do not have any working smoke alarms.
“We would urge all householders to check their smoke alarms at least once a month and make sure they are fitted on every floor of the home. That way they can be easily heard throughout the property.
“Just in the past few days we have been able to successfully rescue someone from a property in Walton after their smoke alarm activated. This alone demonstrates that smoke alarms can make a crucial difference.”
To keep your alarms in working order make sure you take the following steps:
Make sure there is at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home;
Test your smoke alarms by pushing the button every month;
Check that your smoke alarms are less than 10 years old;
Fit smoke alarms on landings and hallways and near or in bedrooms. Also consider in rooms which have electrical appliances – e.g. a heater or charger – or other fire risks;
Don’t put alarms in or near kitchens and bathrooms where smoke or steam can set them off by accident.
Replace your smoke alarms every ten years
Take a moment to check on your loved ones who may need help to test their smoke alarms to ensure they’re fully protected.
If you live in Merseyside, you can request a free Home Fire Safety Check visit, during which fire safety advice will be given. Many residents on Merseyside will be eligible for the fitting of free smoke alarms, particularly those over the age of 65 and anyone who is referred to us by one of our partner agencies
Call 0800 731 5958 for further information or to request a visit.