Approximately one in three homes in Merseyside that have a fire caused by accident do not have smoke alarms, new figures show.
People in Merseyside are being urged to help their neighbours and relatives to make sure there are working smoke alarms in their homes.
The safety appeal has been made after new figures show that between January 1, 2014, and December 18, 2014, there were a total of 950 accidental dwelling fires in Merseyside. Of these incidents, 362, or 38%, did not have a smoke alarm present. In Liverpool, 41% (149 out of 364) of homes that had accidental fires did not have a smoke alarm.
Group Manager Gary Oakford, who leads the Prevention directorate at Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service, said: “With the New Year here, we are really encouraging everyone to have at least one working smoke alarm on every level of their home. We have seen regular examples in the last year where smoke alarms have alerted people to fire, helping them to escape a building or call us early in a fire’s development to help us reduce the damage it can cause if it is left unchecked. Due to reductions in funding for our Service, we can no longer provide free smoke alarms for everyone and have to target our resources on those who will be most vulnerable if a fire were to occur in their home.
“In the last five years, our data shows that we have more accidental fires in people’s homes in December than any other month so there really is no better time to test your smoke alarms than now.
“The season of goodwill is still here and we are urging carers, neighbours and those living near family members who may have mobility issues to help to test their smoke alarms and make sure they have a working smoke alarm on each level of their home. We also support the Government’s Fire Kills ‘First of the Month’ campaign which encourages people to test their smoke alarms each month.”
Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service had given away free smoke alarms in Merseyside since 1999. However, due to the financial challenges that Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority has faced in recent years, Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service is no longer able to offer a free universal service to everyone in Merseyside.
Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (MF&RS) uses an intelligence-led approach to target the most high risk and vulnerable members of the community and provide them with free smoke alarms. Members of the community can phone 0800 731 5958 for free home fire safety advice.
Kevin Johnson, MF&RS Home Safety Manager, said: “The ideal position for a smoke alarm is on the ceiling, in the middle of a room, and on the hallway and landing, so you can hear the alarm throughout your home. Make testing your smoke alarms part of your regular household routine. Test it by pressing the button until the alarm sounds. If it doesn’t sound, you may need to replace the battery.
“If your smoke alarm starts to beep on a regular basis, you need to replace the battery immediately. Smoke alarms have expiry dates and must be replaced every ten years.”
For free fire safety advice or to request a Home Fire Safety Check call 0800 7315958 or go to www.merseyfire.gov.uk
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