Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service is supporting the first national Home Safety Week organised by the Chief Fire Officers’ Association (CFOA).
The week runs from 24-30 March and is designed to promote the benefits of working smoke alarms.
Station Manager Kathy Collis, from the prevention department, explained: “A working smoke alarm is a vital piece of life-saving equipment for your home. It’s not enough to get one fitted, you have to check it on a regular basis to make sure that it still works. Too many people have lost their lives in house fires because they didn’t have smoke alarms or the units were faulty or broken.”
Some top tips:
• If your home is on two or more levels, you should have a smoke alarm on every level. Fit one on the ground floor and have additional alarms on each landing.
• Make it part of your routine to press the test button – maybe every week when you put out the bins, or on the first of every month.
• Smoke alarms need to be cleaned every six months, otherwise dust can build up and affect the workings.
• If you need a specialist alarm (for example, if you have hearing impairment), contact the fire & rescue service for advice.
CFOA’s Home Safety Week is also focusing on rented properties, by urging landlords to ensure that smoke alarms are fitted in their homes.
Station Manager Collis said: “Landlords have a duty to ensure that the property they rent out is safe so, even if there is no specific legal requirement to fit and maintain smoke alarms, we would urge that this be done at all times. The Government is looking at this, with a review of property conditions in the rented sector, and one of the considerations is whether smoke and carbon monoxide alarms should be made compulsory in rented homes. We would certainly support that position – and it is to the landlords’ benefit, as an early warning of fire protects property as well as life.”
Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service offers free home fire safety checks, which includes fitting smoke alarms where needed, and priority is given to those most at risk – so people living alone, families with small children, the elderly, the disabled and people living in remote areas. We also prioritise high risk homes, such as thatched properties, houseboats and mobile homes. To see if you qualify for a visit, call 0800 389 7849