Date: 14th March, 2018
Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service is reminding people of the importance of working smoke alarms and sprinkler systems, following two recent fires in Salisbury.
On 2 March, two fire crews were called to a house in Highbury Avenue, where a fire had started in a rubbish bin to the rear of the property. The occupant had escaped safely, having been woken up by the smoke alarm – which had been fitted by the Service just months earlier.
Then, on 11 March, one fire crew was called to a ground floor flat in Greyfriars Close, where a fire had been extinguished prior to arrival by the built-in sprinkler system.
Area Manager Seth Why, Head of Prevention and Protection, said: “These are two cases where there could easily have been a loss of life had there not been fire protection in place. In the first instance, the occupant was elderly and had already gone to bed; had the smoke alarm not gone off, the fire downstairs would have taken hold and she would have been completely unaware until it was potentially too late.
“In the second instance, the occupant was disabled and therefore not able to escape the property easily when the fire started. The sprinkler system ensured that the fire damage was minimal and the gentleman in question was unharmed.”
Smoke alarms are the easiest way to alert you to the danger of fire, giving you precious time to escape. They are cheap, easy to get hold of, and simple to install. At minimum, you should have one on each floor of your home, and you should always have one where you will hear it when you’re asleep.
To keep your smoke alarms in good working order, you should:
- Test them once a week, by pressing the test button until the alarm sounds.
- Change the batteries once a year (unless mains powered or fitted with a ten year battery).
- Replace the whole unit every ten years.
- Clean your smoke alarms every three months by using the soft brush of your vacuum cleaner to remove any excess dust.
Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service actively promotes the inclusion of fire sprinklers within homes, as well as in commercial or public buildings, such as schools.
Sprinklers can reduce fire deaths and fire related injuries; the risk to firefighters; the effects of arson; the environmental impact of fire; and the cost and disruption to the community and business. They also provide valuable protection to property and heritage.
Area Manager Why said: “Sprinklers activate when a certain level of heat is detected at ceiling level. The sprinklers then douse the fire with water, localising the fire and restricting the spread. Only sprinklers within close proximity of the fire will be activated, meaning water will only be released in the places directly affected by the fire. We will continue to lobby for sprinkler systems to become the norm in terms of building design considerations for both new build and substantially altered buildings, as we have no doubt that wider inclusion of these life-saving systems in our homes and businesses will make a positive and sustainable improvement to the overall safety of our community.”
For further information about smoke alarms and sprinklers, visit www.dwfire.org.uk
To find out if you qualify for a free Safe & Well check from a Fire and Rescue Service adviser, call 0800 038 2323 or visit www.dwfire.org.uk