Essex County Fire and Rescue Service


Fire service host question and answer session with Essex residents

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service recently hosted a live Q&A session on social media to answer questions from Essex residents about home fire safety and smoke alarms. 

Due to the latest lockdown restrictions, the fire service has not able to carry as many home fire safety visits as they usually do, so they decided to reach out to residents online to help as many people as they could. 

The session, which was held on Tuesday 26 January, featured on their Facebook and Instagram page. They received dozens of questions from homeowners with queries about how they can keep their families safe and reduce the risk of fire. 

Watch Manager Paul Pemberton and Safe and Well Officer Rhys Drury were the experts on the day who responded to questions about smoke alarms/carbon dioxide alarms and advice for charging mobile phones safely. 

If you missed it, here are some of the common questions and answers: 

Q. I have a bungalow with quite a long L shaped hallway. Should I have more than one alarm? 

Yes, we would advise having at least two smoke alarms to cover this area. One alarm should be fitted near to the bedroom doorways and the second should be fitted where the direction changes at the L shape. 


Q. I look after a vulnerable elderly neighbour who has mobility issues and is deaf, what smoke alarms would protect him when he’s at home and asleep? 

We have special sensory alarms which have a high intensity LED strobe light and a vibrating pillow pad to warn the user when in bed. This equipment is essential to help protect your neighbour and provide the early warning of a fire. We would also strongly advise booking one of our home fire safety visits. These visits are tailored to the individual circumstances of the resident and property type, so specialist advise can be given and the right equipment can be installed. These visits are completely free of charge and can booked on our website: 


Q. I have a log burner installed and have one CO alarm. Should I get one for both upstairs and down stairs? 

Ideally, one alarm should be installed in every room containing a fuel burning appliance. But also additional alarms may be installed to ensure that adequate warning is given for occupants in other rooms. 


Q. How often do you recommend testing fire alarms and do the alarms ever need replacing? 

We recommend testing your alarms every week. However, if you are unable to maintain this you should test your alarms at least once per month. 

Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years, this is true of both battery powered and hard wired mains smoke alarms. 

Q. I’ve seen lots of concerning posts around fires caused by phone chargers. Is it safe to leave chargers going over night on a bedside table? 

We advise to not charge items like mobile phones, tablets, or e-cigs overnight, or longer than the recommended charging time (so for most new phones that is only a few hours). Also where possible we recommend not leaving them unattended when charging the during the day. Ideal position would be hard surface that is non-combustible or heat resistant. 


If you have a question about your home fire safety, go to the fire service website:  

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