Essex County Fire and Rescue Service


Protect your home even while you're not in - test your smoke alarm regularly

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service is reminding people that smoke alarms need regular testing in order to keep them and their home safe. 

During October, ECFRS will be encouraging Essex residents to make sure they have enough smoke alarms in the home and that, just as importantly, they work; potentially saving their life and their home when they need it most.  

According to a smoke alarm ownership survey ECFRS commissioned in 2018, 91% of homes have working smoke alarms. Yet concerningly, over 50% of respondents in a 2021 ECFRS online survey said they rarely or never test their smoke alarm.  

Smoke alarms can give someone the few extra seconds they need to escape in a fire. While the majority of homes across the county now have an alarm fitted, most people are not aware that the average alarm has a lifespan of between five and ten years and then needs replacing.  

ECFRS is asking people to make sure that their alarms are up to date and up to the job.  

Kieron Moir, Live Safe Manager at Essex County Fire and Rescue Service said 

“Smoke alarms can offer vital protection for you and your loved ones, but most people simply fit and forget – they don’t know if it might be coming to the end of its lifespan or not working at all.  

“Saving lives will always be our priority, but remember that smoke alarms will also alert others to a fire in your home if you’re not in.  

“But of course, you and others around you will only hear it if it’s actually working. If you haven’t tested your smoke alarm recently it might not be working as expected, and if this is the case it’s the same as not having an alarm at all.” 

To keep your alarms in working order:  

  • Make sure there is at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home 
  • Test your smoke alarms by pushing the button every month  
  • Check your smoke alarms instructions to see what their lifespan is and replace it if it's more than 10 years old  
  • Change the batteries every year. Never remove them without immediately replacing them.  
  • Fit smoke alarms in the right place - on landings and hallways and near bedrooms. Also consider fitting them in rooms that have electrical appliances – e.g. a heater or charger – or other fire risks  
  • Keep your alarms free of dust and cobwebs by cleaning them regularly
  • Take a moment to check on your loved ones who may need help to ensure they’re fully protected
  • If you hear someone else's alarm don't ignore it

To find out more about home fire safety or book a home fire safety visit or call 0300 303 0088.

Page last updated 30 September, 2021

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