Test your smoke alarms

Eastbourne’s fire chief is urging people to keep their families safe and check their smoke alarms when the clocks go forward later this month.

The warning comes as a new video from the Fire Kills campaign was launched this week in which a young boy explores the burnt-out shell of his former home, examines his old toys, and asks people to make a life-saving promise this Easter – to keep loved ones safe from fire.

Eastbourne’s Fire & Rescue Service Borough Commander Dave Sheppard said residents should test their smoke alarms when they change their clocks over the Easter weekend.

Dave Sheppard said, “A working smoke alarm is a proven life-saver and is absolutely essential to keep you and your family safe. But only half of all householders who own a smoke alarm say that they test it is working on a regular basis.

“Last year there were 30,709 accidental fires in the home across the country and 15 children’s lives were lost. Don’t take the chance on your family’s life. Promise to test your alarms this clock change weekend, and let’s make it a household habit.

“A working smoke alarm can buy you and your family the valuable time you need to get out, stay out and call 999. But you’re more than four times as likely to die in a fire if you don’t have a working alarm.

“East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service is determined to prevent as many deaths as possible and make sure people test their alarms when the clocks change on March 31.

“Many people will already have a list of household tasks and DIY plans for the long weekend, so it’s the perfect opportunity to add this simple test on to the list. This is also a family time and a perfect opportunity to test alarms for older relatives who might find it hard to reach their alarms but are at greater risk – over half the people who died in home fires last year were over 65 years old.

“By pushing the ‘test’ button on every smoke alarm, people could save the lives of their nearest and dearest – children, parents and friends alike.”

Members of Green Watch at Eastbourne Fire Station are currently running Operation Lifesavers to get every household to fit a smoke alarm.

People who have them fitted will be entered into a competition to win a first prize trolley filled with groceries worth £150 and a second prize of £100 in groceries.

The winning household will also visit the Fire Station as VIP guests.

People can either have their alarms fitted by the fire service community safety advisers or fit them themselves.

They then need to fill in a form and send details to the fire station to be entered into the competition. The winning draw will take place on March 22 at the fire station.