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Make Changing your Smoke Alarm your New Year’s Resolution

With 2023 now underway, Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) is reminding people to keep themselves safe by test their smoke alarms regularly.

Working smoke alarms save lives. The warning they provide gives people valuable seconds needed to escape a fire in the home. But, despite the majority of homes (90%) having at least one working smoke alarm in their home, smoke alarms alerted householders to a fire in only 43% of cases in England. 

In most cases where a smoke alarm fails to warn occupiers the fire was beyond its range. For this reason, RBFRS is encouraging people across Royal Berkshire to ensure that they have a smoke alarm on every floor of their home and to test them regularly.

A Safe and Well technician demonstrating how to test a smoke alarm by pressing the test button.

Gail Muirhead, Prevention Manager, said: “We know that most people have at least one smoke alarm at home, but early detection and warning is vital to reduce the devastation a fire can cause. If you don’t have enough, don’t test them to ensure that they work, or they’re not in the right place, you might not be alerted in time.

“You should make sure you have at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home, preferably in hallways and landings. Positioning them near bedrooms or places where there are electrical appliances could give you the extra warning you need.

“Remember, smoke alarms don’t last forever. So whether they are battery operated or wired to the mains, it is important to test the alarm weekly to ensure that if the worst happens, they work as intended.”

To help keep you and your loved ones safe, follow these smoke alarm safety top tips:

  • Install at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home.
  • Fit your smoke alarms in the right place. 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 10 years.
  • Consider purchasing and installing smoke alarms for relatives or neighbours who may need assistance properly fitting them.
  • Do not ignore a neighbour’s beeping smoke alarm. If you hear a neighbour’s smoke alarm, check if there’s a fire. Ring the doorbell or see if there are any obvious signs that a fire may have started but make sure you don’t put yourself in any danger.