Smoke is responsible for over half of accidental house fire deaths which is why Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service (GFRS) is backing a campaign to get residents to test their smoke alarms when the clocks go back this weekend.
Smoke is known as the silent killer but a working smoke alarm can give people the wake-up call they need to escape. In the majority of fire deaths in the home there are either no smoke alarms in place or they did not go off, with a common cause being missing or flat batteries.
GFRS is supporting the national Fire Kills campaign to remind people that a simple push of the alarm test button will test both the power supply and the detection mechanism.
Gloucestershire County Council cabinet member for fire and rescue, councillor Will Windsor Clive said: “You are at least four times more likely to die in a fire if you don’t have a working smoke alarm, so taking the time to test the smoke alarms in your home could be a truly life saving decision.
“The clock change weekend can be a great reminder to test your smoke alarms so over the weekend of 25-26 October why not test yours when changing the clocks.”
GFRS Chief Fire Officer Stewart Edgar said: “The prevention of fires and protection of people in our community is our service’s top priority and we carried out 3,635 home safety visits and fitted 4,992 smoke alarms in the past year.
“You will walk past your smoke alarm countless times every day and we just ask that you spend a few seconds checking its working when you change the clocks this weekend.
“Half of the people who died in fires in the home last year were 65 years old or over. So as well as testing your own alarms please help older people by checking theirs.”
GFRS firefighter Paul Barrett provided a free home safety visit to Mrs Blowing, 77, of Cirencester after a leaflet drop offering the service.
She said: “I did have an old smoke alarm but I have to admit I hadn’t checked if it worked; now I know to check my new one regularly. I learnt a lot about fire risks and hazards.”
Jerry Evans, 76, of Meysey Hampton was also visited by Paul. He said: “We had much better smoke alarms fitted and they were very professional about their advice. “I think any old age pensioner should have these checks as it was a real eye-opener.”
To pledge to the campaign after doing your alarm test visit the Fire Kills facebook page or www.gov.uk/firekills If you know someone that may be vulnerable or at risk of a fire you can call 0800 180 4140 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a free home safety check.