Smoke detectors missing from more than a third of homes with house fires

More than a third of homes in Cornwall which had a house fire in the last year did not have a smoke detector, latest figures show.

Of the 304 house fires attended by firefighters from Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) between 1 January and 1 December 2018, 120 did not have a smoke detector. 

Continue reading

And in a quarter of cases where a smoke detector had been installed, the device did not activate.

Smoke detectors provide a vital early warning of fire, giving people precious time to get themselves and their loved ones to safety, explained Paula Wellings, Casualty Reduction Manager for CRFS.

"There are lots of demands on people's time and finances and unless you've had experience of a fire it's very easy to understand how buying or checking a smoke detector can slip to the back of 'to do' lists," she said.

"However, smoke detectors will often pick up traces of fire before you do - especially if fire breaks out at night - and so it's really important to have a smoke detector on every floor of your home.  It is important to test them at least monthly but we advocate weekly if possible.

"At this time of year, many people will be thinking of what they can do – big or small – to make a fresh start and improve their lives, homes and wellbeing. Buying, fitting and regularly checking smoke detectors should be top of this list."

Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service will fit smoke detectors as part of free Home Fire Safety Checks  offered to the more vulnerable members of our community, said Councillor Sue James, Cornwall Council cabinet portfolio holder for environment and public protection.

"Our firefighters visit more than 5,000 homes across Cornwall each year to give advice and check or fit smoke detectors as part of our Home Fire Safety Checks," she added. "It is easy to request a visit - please get in touch with us if you or someone you know might qualify."

Advice on smoke detectors from Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service: 

  • Fit at least one smoke detector on every level of your home - these are available from DIY stores and most supermarkets
  • Test your smoke alarms by pushing the button every week;
  • Check that your smoke alarms are less than 10 years old;
  • Fit smoke alarms on landings and hallways and near bedrooms.  Also consider in rooms which have electrical appliances – e.g. a heater or charger – or other fire risks;
  • Only take the battery out when you need to replace it
  • Strobe lighting and vibrating pad smoke alarms are available for people who are deaf or hard of hearing