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How many smoke alarms do you have?

Statistics show that one smoke alarm may not be enough to provide you with the best chance of escaping a fire in the home.

Smoke alarms save lives, but did you know that they only alert householders to just one in three fires in the home in England? Having more than one smoke alarm in your house, one on each level, provides an early detection and warning system, which could give you a vital early warning in the event of a fire.

For this reason, the Fire Kills campaign and Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS)are encouraging households in Royal Berkshire to consider whether the smoke alarms in their homes offer them the correct level of protection.

David Grayson, Watch Based Station Manager, said: “Despite the majority of homes having at least one working smoke alarm, the most common reason a smoke alarm failed to activate was because the fire was outside its range.”

“Therefore it’s so important that not only you have enough smoke alarms but you ensure that they are in the right places. That will give them the best chance of alerting you and your loved ones in the event of a fire.”

RBFRS has also reminded residents to check their smoke alarms. Many people are unaware that most smoke alarms have a lifetime of less than 10 years. The power might work, but the detection mechanism deteriorates with time.” The cost of replacing a smoke alarm is far less than the potential cost that an undetected fire poses.

To check, and ensure that your smoke alarm remains in correct working order, follow these tips:

  • Once a week – test the battery in each smoke alarm.
  •   Once a year – change the battery in the alarm (unless it is a 10-year alarm).
  • Twice a year – gently vacuum over the slots to remove dust.
  • Every ten years – replace the entire smoke alarm.

The Fire Kills campaign also offers the following advice for the positioning of your smoke alarms:

  • A single smoke alarm is not enough – install at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home.
  • The ideal position is on the ceiling, in the middle of a room or on a hallway or landing.
  • Consider fitting additional alarms in other rooms where there are electrical appliances and near sleeping areas
  • Don’t put alarms in or near kitchens and bathrooms where smoke or steam can set them off by accident.
  • Replace your smoke alarms every ten years.

People who are moving away to university in September, or moving house, should be advised to contact their housing provider to ensure that that the correct safety provisions are in place. 

To keep fire safety on the agenda, if students wish, National Union of Students (NUS) delegates could be contacted to keep fire safety at the top of the university agenda, to ensure that the local student community is kept safe from fire related incidents.