How spending £2 a year can save your life
March 5, 2014barriehol
You’re four times more likely to die in a house fire if there’s no smoke alarm, says Cheshire Fire Service. That’s why it’s campaigning for alarms to be compulsory in all tenanted properties, where they’re less likely to be fitted as a matter of course.
The fire authority found that while 12% of properties have no smoke alarms at all, 38% of fire-related deaths are in homes that don’t have one that works – amounting to more than two deaths a week UK-wide, year in, year out. That would seem to be a high price to pay compared to fitting an alarm, which it says can be done for as little as £2 a year.
On balance, we’d say £2 is a tiny price to pay to safeguard a human life. The government has begun a review of private rented housing and will consider whether or not to introduce the law that all such accommodation must be equipped with a working device.
While the Cheshire Fire Service conceded the number of fire deaths is ‘relatively low’, it still believes landlords have a moral duty to ensure the safety of their tenants. It praised the best landlords for already meeting high standards and taking the risks of fire seriously, and said many of those were currently working with the authority to press for change.
Anyone who wants to support the campaign is strongly urged to remind the government how important this life-saving law could be to help lower the number of fatalities caused by blazes. The hashtag #Alarm4Life can be used on social media sites.
Meanwhile, Wiltshire Fire Officer Neil Chamberlain said: “You’re more than four times as likely to survive a fire if you have a working smoke alarm. 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 us to get to you more quickly.”
Mr Chamberlain also reminded families that even if they had working smoke alarms and tested them every week, working out an escape plan and reducing the fire risk was equally important. For companies, of course, the process is much more formal and highly-regulated.
The Fire and Safety Centre offers free help and advice about smoke detectors, either on the phone or using our live web chat facility.