Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service

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Residents urged to act on neighbours’ smoke alarms

Residents urged to act on neighbours’ smoke alarms

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (MFRS) is encouraging local residents to take action if they hear a neighbour’s smoke alarm and call 999 if they suspect a fire in a nearby property.

In recent months MFRS has attended a number of accidental dwelling fire fatalities where a smoke alarm has activated in a house fire yet there has been a crucial delay in emergency services being alerted.

Often this can be due to either householders or neighbours not acting quickly enough once a smoke alarm has activated. Any delay in contacting the fire service can potentially mean the difference between life and death in the event of a fire.

If you hear a smoke alarm, either as a resident or a neighbour, take action immediately and call 999. If you suspect a fire, get out of the property and stay out.

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service Group Manager Mark Thomas said: “Smoke alarms are designed to provide early warning when a fire starts in a home and it is vitally important that anyone who hears the alarm acts immediately.

“This is especially important if you are a neighbour or passer by hearing the alarm, as the occupants of a house affected by fire can very quickly become unconscious due to the effects of smoke and heat.

"If you hear an alarm go off in a neighbour’s property, our advice is don’t ignore it, check it out and call 999 immediately if you suspect a fire. Taking those vital few seconds of action could help save a life.”

“We would also advise people not to try and enter a property themselves if they think a fire has started. Call us without delay and stay safe.”

If you live in Merseyside, you can look after your friends, neighbours and relatives by calling 0800 731 5958 to arrange a free Home Fire Safety Check and to ask for Fire Safety advice.

Many residents on Merseyside will be eligible for the fitting of free smoke alarms, particularly those over the age of 65 and anyone who is referred to us by one of our partner agencies.

Requesting a visit can be particularly important in the case of an elderly or vulnerable friend or relative, or someone who may have mobility issue or sensory impairment.

Smoke alarms will give you the best chance of escaping a fire in the home.

For this reason it is vital that residents check their smoke alarms regularly and ensure they are in the right place. One of the most common reasons a smoke alarm may fail to activate was because the fire was outside its range.

Group Manager Mark Thomas adds “If you know of a neighbour, friend or relative who may either struggle to hear a smoke alarm or leave their property after the alarm has sounded we would urge you to contact us for more help and information.”

“We all must make sure that we not only have enough smoke alarms in our homes but also that they are in the right places. If your whole home isn’t covered and fire breaks out, you might not get the early warning that you need”.

“You should have at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home, preferably in hallways and landings, placing smoke detectors near to sleeping areas and in rooms where there are electrical appliances could give you the extra warning you need.”

“It’s also important to remember that smoke alarms won’t last forever. The power might work, but the detection mechanism deteriorates with time. So whether they are battery operated or wired to the mains, to work at their best they should be replaced every ten years.”

Make sure you follow these five smoke alarm top tips:

• Install at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home.
• 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 or near kitchens and bathrooms where smoke or steam can set them off by accident.
• Replace your smoke alarms every ten years.


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