Smoke alarms failing to go off in 39pc of fires
Householders warned to check batteries are working and to fit more than one detector
ALMOST half of all battery-powered fire alarms did not go off during house fires in England last year a report from the Local Government Association revealed.
Latest figures show 39 per cent of the devices failed to activate. By contrast, 21 per cent of mains-powered smoke alarms failed to operate in residential fires in 2016/17.
In 44 per cent of cases of batteryoperated smoke detectors failing, the main reason was that the fire did not reach the detector.
Missing or faulty batteries was the second biggest reason for a batteryoperated smoke alarm failing to activate, accounting for 22 per cent.
With industry statistics showing that more than a fifth (22 per cent) of households never test their smoke alarm, the Local Government Association (LGA), which represents more than 370 councils and fire authorities in England and Wales, is urging people to check their household fire alarms.
Cllr Ian Stephens, chairman of the LGA’S Fire Service Management Committee, said: “Smoke alarm ownership has risen over the years to 93 per cent, but their ability to provide a vital early warning is being dangerously compromised if they don’t activate due to dud batteries.
“Smoke alarms are proven lifesavers, but these worrying ‘failure’ rates should serve as a stark reminder to people to test their smoke alarms regularly and change batteries where necessary.
“Working batteries aren’t just for toys at Christmas – they are needed in smoke alarms all-year round.”
Home Office figures on fires attended by fire and rescue services in England between April last year to March this year, reveal that one in 10 homes (11 per cent) are without a working smoke alarm.
“To improve safety measures, fire and rescue services advise people to fit more than one smoke detector in their homes, with at least one fitted on the ceiling of every floor,” Cllr Stephens added.
“People also need to be aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide which is a highly poisonous gas that has no colour, taste or smell and can build up in faulty boilers, gas fires and cookers.