Keep safe from fire – at ev­ery level

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS -

AFEW too many cel­e­bra­tory nights out and overindul­gence dur­ing the fes­tive sea­son mean many of us are spend­ing the cold, dark win­ter evenings at home in the new year. But those do­mes­tic treats to cheer us – the heater turned up to ‘max’, can­dles giv­ing a soft glow and per­haps some chips cook­ing in the kitchen – can bring greater risks of fire in the home.

That’s why the Fire Kills cam­paign to­gether with fire and res­cue ser­vices around the coun­try is ask­ing you and your house­hold to take ex­tra care and is rec­om­mend­ing a few sim­ple steps to keep ev­ery­one safe. Th­ese sim­ple steps save lives.

More than nine out of ten homes now have at least one smoke alarm in­stalled. But fire can break out any­where in the home. To make sure that any smoke does set off your smoke alarms, in­stall at least one on ev­ery level of your home and es­pe­cially close to where you sleep.

If you test them at least monthly you can be con­fi­dent that they are all work­ing prop­erly – both the power sup­ply and the de­tec­tion mech­a­nism. Then you can be sure that you and your house­hold will have the ear­li­est pos­si­ble warn­ing of dan­ger should a fire break out.

Last year 213 peo­ple died in fires in their home. The most common rea­son why smoke alarms didn’t go off was be­cause smoke did not reach the de­tec­tor. Another rea­son was that the bat­ter­ies were flat or miss­ing. Work­ing smoke alarms on ev­ery level re­ally can save lives.

Once you know fire has started in your home, get out, stay out and call ‘999’. But how are you go­ing to get out? That is the next sim­ple step we are urg­ing you to think about now – your es­cape routes. The best one is your nor­mal way in and out of your home. Then you need a good back-up plan in case the fire is block­ing that route.

Make sure all your routes are al­ways clear of block­ages you can con­trol, like boxes and toys, and ev­ery­one knows where door and win­dow keys are kept. A house­hold plan­ning ses­sion and prac­tice run can be a life-saver for ev­ery­one – es­pe­cially those who might need ex­tra help with some routes or are a lit­tle slower.

Most peo­ple over­es­ti­mate their abil­ity to es­cape a fire – of­ten not re­al­is­ing the deadly ef­fect of smoke. Sur­veys sug­gest that around 70 per cent of older peo­ple fall into this group but, sadly, over half of the peo­ple who died in re­cent do­mes­tic fires in Eng­land were aged 65 and over.

Don’t risk tragedy in a fire in your home, follow th­ese three sim­ple steps:

In­stall a smoke alarm on ev­ery level and near sleep­ing ar­eas

Test them at least monthly to make sure they are all work­ing

Plan and prac­tise your es­cape routes and keep them clear.

For more in­for­ma­tion and fire safety ad­vice, visit www.gov.uk/firekills at www.face­book.com/firekills or follow us on Twit­ter @Fire_Kills.

n GOOD AD­VICE: Fol­low­ing some sim­ple tips could save your life

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