It's not too late to make a New Year's resolution: Check your smoke alarm in 2018

Published: 09 Jan 2018

With the New Year underway, Hertfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service are asking people to make testing their smoke alarms monthly one of their New Year’s resolutions.

Many people see January as an opportunity for a fresh start, and safety should be top of the list. So this month Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service are encouraging everyone to make sure they have enough working smoke alarms in the home, as part of a national Fire Kills campaign. Checking only takes a few seconds and could save lives.

Smoke alarms can give someone that few extra seconds they need to escape in a fire. While the majority of homes across the country now have an alarm fitted, most people are not aware that the average alarm has a lifespan of just ten years and then needs replacing.

For people who live in a multi-storey home or a larger property a single smoke alarm is simply not enough. Last year, in nearly half of all fires in the home where the smoke alarm did not give a warning the reason was that the alarm was not close enough to detect the fire. Missing or flat batteries were another major cause.

Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service are asking people to make sure that their alarms are up to date and up to the job.

To keep your alarms in working order:
• Make sure there is at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home;
• Test your smoke alarms by pushing the button every month;
• Check that your smoke alarms are less than 10 years old;
• Fit smoke alarms on landings and hallways and near bedrooms. Also consider in rooms which have electrical appliances – e.g. a heater or charger – or other fire risks;
• Take a moment to check on your loved ones who may need help to ensure they’re fully protected;
• Remember to check your carbon monoxide alarm as well.

Terry Hone, Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said: “At this time of year, many people will be thinking of what they can do – big or small – to make a fresh start and improve their lives, homes and wellbeing. Smoke alarms can offer vital protection for you and your loved ones, but most people simply fit and forget – they don’t know if the batteries may have expired, the alarm might be coming to the end of its lifespan or not working at all.

“You’re four times more likely to survive a fire if you have a working smoke alarm, and it only takes a moment to push the ‘test’ button on every smoke alarm in your home. So if your alarm is getting past its best or your top floor is missing an alarm of its own, make your New Year’s resolution to fit new ones, test them on the first of every month and protect your loved ones in 2018.”