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Make a New Years resolution: test your smoke alarms every week in 2017 – and beyond

This month, Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service is encouraging everyone to make a positive change and ensure they have enough working smoke alarms in the home. Testing your smoke alarms only takes a few seconds.

If you live in a multi-storey home or a larger property, one smoke alarm is simply not enough. Smoke alarms have a limited range, so it is essential that all areas of your property are properly covered by working alarms. Insufficient alarms in your property could lead to your smoke alarms not detecting a fire; taking away vital time people need to escape.

Here are some tips to help keep you and your loved ones safe:

  • The easiest way to protect your home and family from fire is with working smoke alarms – get them, install them, test them. They could save your life.
  • Fit at least one on every level of your home and test them weekly. Get into the habit of ‘Test it Tuesday’.
  • Ten-year sealed battery smoke alarms are the best option. They are slightly more expensive, but you save on the cost of replacing batteries.
  • If it is a ten-year alarm, you will need to replace the whole alarm every ten years.
  • Never disconnect your alarms or take the batteries out if it goes off by mistake.
  • The ideal position to install an alarm is on the ceiling in the middle of a room and on the hallway and landing ceilings so you can hear an alarm throughout your home. Follow the manufacturer’s installation guide you received with your alarm.
  • Don’t put smoke alarms in or near kitchens or bathrooms where smoke or steam can set them off by accident. Heat detectors can be installed in these areas as they operate in a different way. 

Pete Farmer, Temporary Manager for Prevention, said: “It is very important to test your smoke alarms every week, without fail, to ensure that they are working correctly. Many people are not aware that the average smoke alarms have a lifespan of ten years and then they need replacing. If your alarms are a “replacement battery” type alarm the batteries should be replaced annually. Missing or flat batteries were one of primary failings of smoke alarms last year. If it doesn’t work, it will not warn you so therefore it can’t protect you. Push the button! Not your luck!”

Councillor Christine Bateson, Community Safety Member Champion, said: “This January, make one of your New Year’s resolutions to check the condition of your smoke alarms and fit new ones if it’s appropriate. It only takes a few seconds to test your alarms and working smoke alarms give you vital early warning which could help to save you and your loved ones lives.”

If it is difficult for you to fit smoke alarms yourself, contact your local fire and rescue service for advice.