A scene from the TV advertisement showing a sleeping couple "drowning" in smoke when a fire breaks out in their home.
5 October 2009
Drowning in the toxic smoke of a house fire is the risk you take if you don't have a working smoke alarm. That's the stark message from Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service in support of a massive new national ‘Fire Kills’ campaign launching today.
Two to three breaths of toxic smoke will affect your ability to breathe - a sensation similar to drowning, as shown in a new television advertisement. The campaign, which runs until March 2010, aims to keep encouraging people to carry out weekly tests on their smoke alarms until it becomes a habit.
New survey results from the Fire Kills campaign show that people vastly under-estimate the impact of toxic smoke. Of those surveyed in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes:
- 39 per cent believe they could survive for more than two minutes in a smoke-filled room.
- 50 per cent think they would be alerted to a fire by the smell of the smoke.
- 17 per cent believe a pet (their dog barking, for example) or someone else would alert them to a house fire.
Although 91 per cent of those surveyed own smoke alarms, 72 per cent admit to not testing them every week. This is despite the fact that you are more than twice as likely to die in an accidental house fire if you do not have a working smoke alarm.
Community safety manager Terry Ridgley said: “After just two or three breaths of smoke from a fire you'll be unconscious. The only way to buy more precious seconds to escape is by having working smoking alarms.
"Owning smoke alarms and hoping that they work is not enough to protect your home and loved ones. Take immediate action by testing them weekly and planning an escape route in the event of a fire.
"Try to make it a habit, perhaps by tagging it on to another part of your household routine. For example, you could test your smoke alarms just before or after you put out your refuse and recycling for collection."
Terry offered this simple checklist to help protect your home and family from the risk of fire:
- Fit a smoke alarm on each level of your home. When a fire starts, there is little time to escape so an early warning is vital. Battery operated smoke alarm units should be replaced after 10 years. Consider installing a mains powered alarm.
- Test alarms weekly - a smoke alarm can buy valuable time, if it’s working.
- Plan your escape route – make sure you and your family know the quickest way out in the event of fire. Consider an alternative route in case your usual one is blocked.
- Stay safe in the kitchen. This is the area where most house fires start. It only takes a minute to check electrical appliances are switched off. And never leave cooking unattended.
- Ask the experts. Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service offers FREE safety checks to identify potential fire risks in your home and advise what to do to reduce or prevent them. This includes FREE smoke alarms and FREE installation. Ring 01296 744477 or email email@example.com
- If a fire does break out in your home, get out, stay out and call 999.