New Year resolution that could save lives

Wed 1 Jan, 2014

Are you looking for a New Year resolution that’s easy to stick to and could save lives? Then Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service is inviting you to make 2014 the year that you check your smoke alarms are working properly, up to date and properly positioned.

Chief Operating Officer Jason Thelwell said: “If you look after your smoke alarms, they can give you the few extra seconds you need to escape a fire. But while the majority of homes have smoke alarms, there’s a tendency to fit and forget.

“Last year, in nearly half 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.

“Most people are not aware that the average alarm has a lifespan of 10 years. On top of that, if you live in a big house, a single smoke alarm may not be enough.”

Jason’s top tips to help you turn this into your New Year resolution are:

  • Test your smoke alarms by pushing the button at least once a month. Why not circle the first of every month on your new calendar and tick it off when you’ve tested your alarms? If you prefer to test them every week, choose a regular day and time.
  • If your battery-operated smoke alarms are 10 or more years old, it’s time to get new ones.
  • Make sure there is at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home. Fit them on landing and hallway ceilings, at least 30 centimetres (12 inches) away from any wall or light fitting, and in rooms which have an electrical appliance.
  • Work out what your best escape routes would be in the event of a fire, and make sure everyone in your home knows them.
  • Carry out a bedtime check every night to reduce the risk of a fire starting while you're asleep.
  • Call in on your less able friends, relatives and neighbours from time to time to make sure they’re fully protected.
  • For more detailed advice, read the handy Fire Safety in the Home booklet produced by the national Fire Kills campaign.

Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service offers free safety checks to identify potential fire risks in your home and help you minimise them. The checks include free smoke alarms and free installation. Ring 01296 744477 or email