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Smoke Alarms Save Lives

It’s time for my semi-regular Public Service Announcement. This time it’s all about fire safety.

Over the weekend, we were surprised but pleased when our doorbell rang and we found one of our local firemen here to do a free home safety check.

Our local authority is making sure that the firemen are being proactive in helping to prevent house fires, and to that end, they came by to make sure our smoke alarms were in good working order, our house was audited for safety hazards and we had good information about how to be proactive ourselves.

Did you know…?

  • You’re twice as likely to die in a fire if you don’t have a smoke alarm that works.
  • 90 people die each year because the battery in their smoke alarm was flat or missing.
  • Over half of home fires are caused by cooking accidents.
  • More than five fires a day are started by candles.
  • Every three days someone dies from a fire caused by a cigarette.
  • Faulty electrics (appliances, wiring and overloaded sockets) cause around 7,000 house fires across the country every year.

But what amazes me is that smoke alarms are dirty cheap and in most hardware stores and supermarkets. How could something so cheap and easy to install that could VERY EASILY save your life get overlooked?

Last year, we had our own home drama when we were woken by our smoke alarm. To this day I have nightmares about what could have happened that day. I was really pleased to find that our alarms (one on each floor) are hard-wired, which means we don’t need to worry about batteries dying.

Choosing your smoke alarm

  • Fit smoke alarms on every level of your home.
  • Smoke alarms are cheap and easy to install.
  • They are available from DIY stores, electrical shops and most high street supermarkets.
  • There are a variety of different models to choose from. Your local Fire and Rescue Service will be happy to give you advice on which one is best suited to you.
  • Look out for one of these symbols, which shows the alarm is approved and safe.

For the sake of your family and especially those of us with young children, it is important to remember what YOU can do in order to help prevent a fire-related catastrophe. If you haven’t spoken to your kids about what to do in the event of a fire, do it now! I remember my mother teaching us what to do, where to go and where we should all meet outside the house if there was ever a fire. I didn’t even understand properly until I was older, but she made sure we all knew from the time we were old enough to walk.

Perhaps create a night time routine to check everything before you go to bed? After all, you are more at risk from a fire when asleep.

Check List

  • Close inside doors at night to stop a fire from spreading
  • Turn of and unplug electrical appliances unless they are designed to be left on – like your freezer.
  • Check your cooker is turned off.
  • Don’t leave the washing machine on.
  • Turn heaters off and put up fireguards.
  • Put candles and cigarettes out properly.
  • Make sure exits are kept clear.
  • Keep door and window keys where everyone can find them.

Remember that your and your family’s lives are in your hands. And if that’s not enough of an incentive, how would you feel to lose everything you own? From valuable possessions to photos and memorabilia…

Even if a fireman comes to your rescue and gets you and your family out safely, they may not be able to save your home.

So be proactive. Take action. Do your part.

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Katie Vyktoriah Reed (@snuggle_bubby)

Monday 27th of February 2012

Smoke Alarms Save Lives. Read how you can be proactive to save your family's lives: http://t.co/PRhFPmxn

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