Change you clock, test your smoke alarm

24 October 2011

West Yorkshire fire chiefs are urging people to make a potentially life-saving move when they change their clocks this weekend (29 October) – by taking a moment to test their smoke alarm too.

The twice-yearly clock change is a task that everybody takes for granted. Turning the clocks back for an extra hour in bed will already be on the ‘to-do’ list for the majority of households.

While time-keeping is a vital part of our lives and we all keep our clocks working to stay on track, it’s shocking to know that many people forget to ensure the safety of themselves and their loved ones by keeping their smoke alarm in the same working order.

A working smoke alarm can buy you valuable time to get out, stay out and call 999. But only half of all householders who own a smoke alarm say that they test it regularly.

You’re more than four times as likely to die in a fire if your smoke alarm is not working. So it’s clear that the simple act of testing your alarm is a vital part of any household routine.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Craig McIntosh said:

Everyone soon notices when a clock stops ticking, but it’s more difficult to be sure that your smoke alarm is still in working order. The only way to make sure is through regular testing.

When the national alarm campaign began in 1988 only nine per cent of homes had a smoke detector – now that figure is 86 per cent. But having a smoke alarm is not enough – it must be kept in working order to save your life.

We’re all looking forward to getting that extra hour of sleep as British Summer Time comes to an end. Knowing that your smoke alarm is in working order will help you sleep that little bit better.

** Help keep yourself and your loved ones safe in the home by following these simple steps: A working smoke alarm can buy you valuable time to get out, stay out and call 999. Make sure you fit one on every level of your home and test them regularly.

Make testing your smoke alarm part of your household routine. Check the alarm by pressing the button regularly; change your battery once a year or invest in a 10-year alarm; and clean the alarm casing twice a year to ensure dust doesn’t block the sensor.

Whatever happens, never remove the battery in your smoke alarm.

Make sure that everyone in your home knows what to do in a fire and practise your escape route.

During the dark winter nights leave a light on whilst you are out and if using a lamp ensure the lamp is not covered with a cloth for example for dimming purposes.

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