Smoke alarms fail­ing to go off in 39pc of fires

House­hold­ers warned to check bat­ter­ies are work­ing and to fit more than one de­tec­tor

The Daily Telegraph - - News -

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.

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