A HARD-hitting new campaign has been launched in Wigan urging people to get into the potentially life-saving habit of testing their smoke alarms more regularly.
Firefighters say that neglecting such cheap and simple devices can have tragic consequences.
In 2010 2011, there were more than 36,000 accidental fires in the home, resulting in 246 fatalities and more than 7,000 casualties.
The Fire Kills Campaign hopes that by adding this simple smoke alarm check to people’s clock-change routine, many more lives will be saved.
Wigan Borough’s fire commander Steve Sheridan said: “The modern pace of life means we are all slaves to timekeeping.
“But whilst we all accept how important it is to keep our clocks ticking over so our lives stay on track, it’s shocking to think how many people forget to ensure the safety of themselves and their loved ones by keeping their smoke alarm in the same working order.
“A working smoke alarm can buy you valuable time to get out and call 999. But only half of all householders who own a smoke alarm say that they test it on a regular basis.
“You’re more than four times as likely to die in a fire if your smoke alarm is not working – so it’s clear that the simple act of testing your alarm is a life-saving ritual which should be part of your regular household routine.”
Back in 1988 only nine per cent of homes had a smoke alarm; now that figure is 86 per cent and since 1988 the number of fire deaths in homes has halved. But having a smoke alarm is not enough - it must be kept in working order to save your life.
Mr Sheridan added: “We’re all looking forward to getting that extra hour’s sleep but knowing your smoke alarm is in full working order will help you sleep even more soundly.”
A working smoke alarm can buy a householder valuable time to get out, stay out and call 999. It is possible to get advice on fire safety in the home, have it checked for hazards and claim a free smoke alarm when booking a Home Fire Risk Assessment with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service. For more call 0800 555 815.