Could a spring clean save your life?

This month, Essex County Fire and Rescue Service is encouraging everyone to tidy their escape routes to ensure they are clear if needed in an emergency.

As part of the Fire Kills campaign, we are asking people to clear the clutter that may be blocking escape routes and to make sure their family knows how to get out, stay out, and call 999 in the event of a fire. 

We are also urging residents to test their smoke alarms. Working smoke alarms are regularly the heroes in a fire, giving people the warning they need to get out of their home in a fire. 

We recommend you have at least one smoke alarm on every level of the house and that you test them at least once a month. If they’re not working, you can contact the Home Fire Safety team for advice at essex-fire.gov.uk/book.

Keeping your escape routes clear can help you escape quickly in an emergency. If there is a fire in your home, it’s likely that you won’t be able to see as well through the smoke and will need to be able to head straight to the doors out of your house with no obstacles in your way.

Ian Adams, Assistant Director (Area Manager) Prevention and Protection at Essex County Fire and Rescue Service said: “Just two to three breaths of toxic smoke could leave you unconscious, so every second counts when escaping a fire. Having working smoke alarms and knowing the escape plan in an emergency could make all the difference.”

Here are some simple steps to help keep you and your family safe:

1. Think about how you’d all get out in case of a fire, making an escape plan and practicing it will help ensure that everyone can get out, stay out and call 999 

2. Fit at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home so smoke can reach the alarms quicker giving you more warning time

3. Test your smoke alarms monthly. Smoke alarms can save your life, but only if they work

4. Clear your escape routes. Make sure you’re able to escape without tripping over to ensure a speedy exit

5. Keep your door and window keys in a known and accessible place. Make sure everyone knows where the door and window keys are kept so they can reach them easily and get out quicker in case of a fire

Work with your family to create an escape plan and make sure everyone knows how to get out of the house when they hear the smoke alarms going off.

For more home fire safety advice, visit our Home Safety Advice webpage.

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