Firefighters in West Sussex are urging people to test their smoke alarms when they change their clocks on Sunday, October 28.
The fire service said turning the clocks back for an extra hour in bed will already be on the ‘to do’ list for the majority of households across the county as British Summertime ends, but it is also a perfect opportunity to make sure that the smoke alarms in their homes are in full working order.
In March this year two people lost their lives in separate house fires in West Sussex where, in both cases, the batteries in their smoke alarms had been removed.
A smoke alarm gives crucial early warning to a fire and can buy valuable time to leave safely and call 999. However, a recent national Fire Kills survey revealed that only half of the householders who own a smoke alarm said they tested them on a regular basis.
Adrian Carter, West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service’s Deputy Safer Communities Manager, said: “You’re more than four times as likely to die in a fire if your smoke alarm is not working so we will never tire of stressing how important it is to test them regularly. Everyone soon notices when a clock stops ticking but it’s not so easy to be sure that your smoke alarm is still in working order. Whether the battery is flat, has been removed for whatever reason or the connection is loose, everyone should take the time to test.
“I’m sure many of us are looking forward to getting an extra hour’s sleep at the end of British Summer Time, but knowing your smoke alarm is working could help you sleep that little bit better. When you put your clocks back remember to also push the button on your smoke alarm - it really could save your life.”
If you want an extra nudge to test your smoke alarm regularly, try setting an automatic reminder. Safelincs, in partnership with Fire Kills has created a free service that reminds you, by email or text, when it’s time to test your smoke alarm, change your battery or renew your unit. The service is completely free and can be cancelled at any time. For more information visit www.safelincs.co.uk/reminders