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Keep your home safe this September

Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) is encouraging residents to reduce the risk of having a fire in the home this September as part of Home Fire Safety Month.

To stay safe, residents should ensure they have enough working smoke alarms in their home. In 27% of accidental dwelling fires in England, the smoke alarm failed to operate. Following some simple safety advice can reduce the chance of your smoke alarm failing to operate.

  • You should replace your smoke alarm at least every 10 years, though it could even be every year, depending on the alarm. Make sure you know which type yours is.
  • You should test your smoke alarm every week.
  • A smoke alarm should be fitted on every level of your home.
  • Ensure you have a carbon monoxide alarm fitted in any room with a fuel burning appliance.

Gail Muirhead, West Hub Prevention Manager, said: “It is important to know what to do if a fire starts in your home. We always advise people to fit at least one working smoke alarms on every floor of their home, ideally on landings or in corridors. A heat alarm should also be fitted in the kitchen where possible.

“It is important to test all of your smoke alarms once each week, as working smoke alarms will give you an early warning and more time to escape in an emergency.”

However, the best way to stay safe is to prevent an incident happening in the first place. Follow these simple tips to help keep yourself and your loved ones safe from a fire in the home:

  • Ensure that any smoking products are fully extinguished and never smoke in bed. More people die in fires in the home ignited by cigarettes or smoking products than any other cause.
  • Plan an emergency escape route, and practice it with everyone you live with.
  • Switch off appliances at the plug where possible before you go to bed.
  • Don not leave appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines running over night or when the house is empty.
  • If you have a recalled appliance – don’t risk it, stop using it. Register your appliance at register my appliance for the latest recall information.
  • Ensure all appliances are installed and maintained correctly by registered and suitably qualified tradespeople.
  • Good housekeeping, like keeping ovens and filters clean, can prolong the life of an appliance and reduce the risk of fire.
  • Check with older relatives, friends and neighbours as they may need help identifying issues with appliances and protecting themselves from the risks of an incident occurring.
  • Do not use an electric blanket if the fabric is worn or frayed or any of the wiring appears to be damaged.
  • In the event of a fire, get out, stay out and call 999.

For more home safety advice, visit our Safety at Home page.