1.5 million homes in England don't have a smoke alarm

Mon 7 Nov, 2016

Government figures show that 1.5 million homes in England do not have smoke alarms, and that only about a quarter of householders who do have them test them regularly.

Now Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service is urging people to take action as part of a month-long national campaign, organised by Fire Kills, which was launched today.

Group Commander Richard Priest said: "It is particularly worrying that so many homes are still without smoke alarms. In the event of a fire, working smoke alarms will give you the valuable time to get out, stay out and call 999.

“You’re at least seven times more likely to die in a fire if you don’t have any working smoke alarms. However, only 28 per cent of the people who own an alarm say they take the time to test it at least monthly.” 

There were 229 fire-related deaths in the home in England last year. The Fire Kills campaign hopes that by encouraging everyone to test their smoke alarms, more deaths can be prevented.

Richard added: “I would encourage people in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes to make sure that they have at least one smoke alarm on each level of their home, and that they test their smoke alarms today and get into the habit of testing them each month."

The campaign aims to raise awareness during the winter months, when there is an increase in the number of fire-related incidents and deaths.

To help keep you and your loved ones safe, Richard offered the following tips:

  • Test your smoke alarms now or when you get home.
  • Make sure you fit smoke alarms on every level of your home and test them monthly, even if they’re wired into the mains.
  • Whatever happens, never remove the batteries in your smoke alarms unless you are replacing them. Some require new batteries every year.
  • Plan and practise an escape route and make sure that everyone in your home knows it.
  • Take special when cooking, as more than half of all accidental house fires start in the kitchen.
  • In the event of a fire, get out, stay out and call 999.
  • Test other people's smoke alarms if they are unable to test their own.

Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service will carry out a free safety check in your home, fitting free smoke alarms where needed. Ring 01296 744477 or email cs@bucksfire.gov.uk