Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

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Make Fire Safety your New Year's Resolution

As we enter 2022, Essex County Fire and Rescue Service is urging residents across the county to make sure they have working smoke alarms on every level of their home.

In 2021, ECFRS attended 377 fires which were caused accidentally in homes across Essex. 30% of these incidents occurred in homes with no working smoke alarms. Buying and fitting smoke alarms, and ensuring they are properly maintained, could give you those precious extra minutes to escape safely in the event of a fire.

In a recent survey ECFRS found that, while most residents have smoke alarms at home, just under half test them regularly.

Will Newman, Head of Prevention at ECFRS, said: “Smoke alarms are the single most important thing you need in your home - but only if they work.

“We encourage all our residents to fit a smoke alarm on every level of their home and test them monthly to ensure that they are working correctly. In the event of a fire, working smoke alarms will give you valuable time to get out, stay out and call 999.”

The Service also recommends making an escape plan with your family.

If there is a fire in your home, you may have to get out in dark or difficult conditions. Escaping will be a lot easier it everyone knows where to go. Keep escape routes free of clutter and check that there are no loose floor coverings that could trip you on your way out.

When purchasing smoke alarms, remember:

  • Install at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home.
  • If possible, opt for mains-powered alarms that are linked together.
  • Fit your smoke alarms in the right place. The ideal position is on the ceiling, in the middle of a room or on a hallway or landing.
  • Consider fitting additional alarms in other rooms where there are electrical appliances and near sleeping areas. 
  • Don’t put alarms in kitchens and bathrooms, where smoke or steam could set them off by accident.
  • Vacuum the inside of your alarms regularly to make sure that dust doesn’t block the sensors.
  • Test your smoke alarm batteries monthly. Testing your smoke alarm only takes a few seconds and it could save your life.

People who are moving house, or to university, are advised to contact their housing provider to ensure that the correct safety measures are in place.

Alarms for the hearing-impaired

Smoke alarms that use a vibrating pad and/or flashing light are available for those with hearing impairments. ECFRS can supply and fit these free of charge. 

To find out more about or to book a home fire safety visit, go to: essex-fire.gov.uk/book

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