Check your smoke alarms when you change your clocks

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CHANGING the clocks may not seem a matter of life and death but local firefighters are hoping people will use the occasion to check their smoke alarms and prevent potential disasters.

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, which is based in Eastbourne, has launched its Fire Kills campaign to coincide with when the clocks go forward on Sunday (March 25).

And at the heart of the hard-hitting public message is the slogan “We all lose an hour’s sleep this weekend – make sure you don’t lose a lot more.”

According to fire experts a working smoke alarm can buy you valuable time to get out, stay out and call 999. However, it is estimated that just half of all householders who own a smoke alarm test whether or not it is working on a regular basis.

Statistics show that someone is four times more likely to die in a fire if their smoke alarm is not working, so the importance of regular checked could not be more obvious. Last year alone there were 491 accidental fires in homes within the area covered by ESFRS, leaving 48 victims included eight who died.

David Kemp, head of community safety for ESFRS, said, “Everyone soon notices when a clock stops ticking, but it’s not so easy to be sure that your smoke alarm is still in working order. Whether the battery is flat, has been removed for a kid’s toy or the connection is loose, everyone should take the time to test their smoke alarm.

“We’re all losing sleep at the start of British Summer Time, but testing your smoke alarm could save you from losing a lot more. As you put your clocks forward please take the time to test your smoke alarm.”

For more in-depth advice about fire safety or to check if you are eligible for a free home safety visit, call 0800 177 7069 or visit www.esfrs.org.

Elderly or vulnerable locals will be able to book a visit from firefighters to help them check, or fit fire alarms.