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Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service urges residents to maintain and test their smoke alarms regularly

Smoke alarms save lives. Make sure yours work

As part of the national Fire Kills Campaign, Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) is asking people to test their smoke alarms regularly.

Smoke alarms give occupants precious extra seconds to escape a property in the event of a fire. While the majority of homes across the country may have an alarm fitted, most people are not aware that the average lifespan of a smoke alarm is just ten years. After that the entire unit should be replaced.  

“It only takes a few seconds to test a smoke alarm but it could save your life,” commented Nicola Smith, Prevention Manager, RBFRS. She added: “Smoke alarms offer vital protection in the event of an emergency, but often people fit them and forget. They don’t realise their smoke alarm might be coming to the end of its lifespan or not working at all.

“For most of us, there is nothing more important than keeping our families safe and secure. So, if your alarm isn’t working or a floor in your home is missing an alarm of its own, fit new ones, test them at weekly and keep your home safe. If it is difficult for you to fit smoke alarms yourself, contact Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service for help.”

A safe and well technician uses a red stick to test a smoke alarm on a roof whilst a woman watches on.

RBFRS is advising residents throughout Berkshire to keep their smoke alarms in good working order by following a few simple steps:

  • Make sure there is at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home;
  • Test your smoke alarms by pushing the button, ideally once a week.
  • Check that your smoke alarms are less than 10 years old.
  • Change the batteries every year. Never remove them temporarily.
  • Fit smoke alarms in the right place – on landings and hallways and near bedrooms. Avoid placing them in kitchens or bathrooms where smoke or steam can set them off by accident.
  • Take a moment to check on friends and family members who may need help installing and testing smoke alarms in their homes.

As well as testing smoke alarms weekly, residents should change the batteries at least once a year (unless it is a ten-year alarm), gently vacuum the alarm twice a year to remove dust and replace the entire alarm every ten years.

For further advice and information, visit RBFRS’s Safety at Home website pages.