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Be alert to alarms for a safer home

Smoke alarms save lives and in the event of a fire they can provide precious time to escape.

Cumbria County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service and the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) are highlighting the importance of installing alarms as part of Home Safety Week, which runs from 28 September to 4 October.

Smoke alarms fail to activate in 20% of accidental dwelling fires in the UK. The most common reason was because the fire was outside the alarm’s range. So, we are asking householders to ensure their whole home is covered by:

  • Installing at least one smoke alarm on each level of your home
  • Testing alarms regularly to make sure they work
  • Alarms don’t last forever, replace them at least every 10 years

During the coronavirus pandemic Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service is carrying out telephone-based Safe and Well Visits which aim to help people live independently and deal with any potential fire hazards in their homes. We give general fire safety advice and carry out an initial home fire safety assessment. If potential fire hazards are identified, the Service will offer to visit your home to give further advice and where applicable, fit a 10-year powered sealed cell smoke detector.

All Safe and Well Visits during the pandemic will be conducted adhering strictly to the government’s social distancing guidance.

Will Richardson, Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service Prevention Manager, said: “Smoke alarms do save lives but only if they work. Test yours every month to make sure they are in good working order and approximately every six months clean them out so they are in the best working order possible. However, smoke detectors have a life span of ten years and must be changed. Inside they have a sensor that will decay over time, so it’s well worth setting a reminder on your phone’s calendar to prompt you about your monthly tests, six monthly hoover and ten-year exchange.”

James Bywater, NFCC Lead for Home Detection commented: “NFCC want people to think about the risks in their homes and ensure they take action to prevent incidents and that they have the right detection in the right places to be alert if an incident happens.”

Only around 15% of households have carbon monoxide CO alarms. CO is a highly poisonous gas, which you cannot see, taste or smell. NFCC recommend households install CO alarms in any room with a fuel burning appliance such as an open fire, wood burning stove or gas appliance such as a boiler or cooker.

  • Carbon monoxide alarms should be installed in all rooms where there is a fuel burning appliance
  • Test all alarms regularly to make sure they work
  • Ensure all appliances are installed and maintained correctly by registered and suitably qualified tradespeople

For more advice and information about keeping safe in your home, please see Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service website – https://www.cumbria.gov.uk/cumbriafire/services/safetyathome/default.asp

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