When the clocks go back at the witching hour next weekend, why not take the chance to check your smoke alarms at the same time?
On Sunday, October 31st, the clocks will go back an hour and Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service is using this opportunity to encourage people to think about their families' safety.
Halloween also means scary pumpkins lit up by candles and it's vital to take special care with these and with matches. It is safer to use a snuffer or spoon to put out a candle in case of sparks, use a candle holder and keep them away from anything that could catch fire, like curtains, and Halloween decorations and costumes!
The simplest piece of advice to follow though is making sure that you have a working smoke alarm. These detect many of the 35,000 accidental house fires nationally that the Fire and Rescue Service are called to each year, and many of the hundreds of deaths that occur each year could be avoided if smoke alarms were working.
Chief Fire Officer, Chris Griffin, said: 'With the clocks going back, you'll be taking them off the walls to change the time, so why not check your alarms while you're doing it?'
'Recently there has been an increase in cases where a smoke alarm didn't work because the battery was disconnected, missing or needed replacing. Smoke alarms are inexpensive and available in DIY stores and at many supermarkets. They should be fitted on every level of your home. Get it, install it properly and check it regularly - it could save you and your family's life.'
Between July and September, Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue Service attended 68 and 12 home and chimney fires respectively, of which approximately 18% did not have a working smoke alarm.
However, the Service's Community Safety Advisers have been very effective in increasing the number of smoke alarms fitted since they started in January 2009. There has been an 8% drop in the number of domestic fires the Service has been called to attend compared to the same period last year.
The CSAs provide home fire safety checks, giving advice and fitting smoke alarms free of charge for the most vulnerable people in the community. If you know someone who hasn't got a smoke alarm and may be at risk from fire, then call 0800 180 41 40 to book a visit. Remember if you are nominating someone else for a home fire safety check then you must get their permission first.
Cllr Will Windsor Clive, Gloucestershire County Council Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said: 'We know that smoke alarms save lives. They can give you and your family the necessary warning to get out in the early stages of a fire, which should in turn allow the Fire & Rescue Service to get to you more quickly.'
Once a week - Check the alarm by pressing the button.
Once a year - Change your battery (unless it's a 10-year alarm).
Twice a year - Vacuum and wipe the smoke alarm casing to ensure dust isn't blocking the sensor chamber. (For mains wired alarms, switch off first.)
Every ten years - fit a replacement smoke alarm. They don't last forever. Whatever happens - never remove the battery to use it for other purposes. Always make smoke alarms meet the BS5446 Part 1, have a 'KITEMARK' and that they are fitted in accordance with the instructions provided. For longer, term protection and peace of mind, it's a good idea to fit 10-year smoke alarms.
Issued by: Emma Smith, Gloucestershire County Council Media Team, 01452 426887, email@example.com
22nd October 2010