Closed doors and working smoke alarm prevent serious fire

27 August 2010

Firefighters are reminding people to close internal doors and check their smoke alarms after a fire in Astwood this morning.

Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service was called to the house in Main Road at 12.33am after a dishwasher had caught fire.

Fortunately the family were alerted by a working smoke alarm and managed to get out of the house safely.

Watch Manager Andy Gillett, who was in charge of the incident, said: “The door to the kitchen was closed and the house had working smoke alarms fitted.

“The family were woken by a smoke alarm sounding and they were able to get out of the house safely and call 999.”

Crews arrived to find the kitchen heavily smoke-logged.

Andy added: “Had the kitchen door not been closed and the house not been fitted with a working smoke alarm, this could have been a far more serious incident. A house fitted with working smoke detectors - and people reacting to them - gives us a much better chance of saving lives.”

Terry Ridgley, head of Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service’s community safety team, said: “People sometimes remove internal doors when they are adapting or improving their homes, but we would like to discourage them from doing so.

“If you have a fire and your internal doors are closed, it limits the rate at which it spreads, maximising your chances of getting out alive and giving us the best possible chance of restricting the fire to the room it started in.”

“This fire also illustrates the importance of having a properly-maintained smoke alarm. Had it not been there, this could have been an even more serious incident.”

"When fires break out, which is often during the night, smoke alarms provide a vital early warning sign - indeed, they are often your ONLY warning. Don't put yourself or your family at risk for the sake of a battery."

Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service will carry out a free safety check of your home and fit free smoke detectors where necessary. Smoke alarms detect fires at their earliest stages and give a loud warning to help you and your family to get out safely.

Ring 01296 744477 or send an email to cs@bucksfire.gov.uk to book an appointment.

Terry added that by following a few simple steps and maintaining a basic level of awareness, homeowners can considerably reduce the chances of a fire:

  • Fit smoke alarms on each level in your home. Keep them free from dust and test them once a week. Consider buying a 10-year alarm - otherwise change the batteries in your alarm every year.
  • Get into the habit of closing doors at night. If you want to keep a child’s bedroom door open, close the doors to the lounge and kitchen - it may well help save their life if there is a fire.
  • Make a fire action plan so that everyone in your home knows how to escape if there is a fire.
  • Keep the exits from your home clear so that people can escape if there is a fire. Make sure that everyone in your home can easily find the keys for doors and windows.
  • Take extra care in the kitchen – accidents while cooking account for over half of fires in homes. Never leave young children alone in the kitchen.
  • Take extra care when cooking with hot oil. If you don’t already have one, consider buying a deep-fat fryer controlled by a thermostat.
  • Never leave lit candles in rooms that nobody is in or in rooms where children are on their own. Make sure candles are in secure holders on a surface that doesn’t burn and are away from any materials that could burn.
  • Make sure cigarettes are stubbed out properly and are disposed of carefully, and never smoke in bed.
  • Don’t overload electrical sockets. Remember, one plug for one socket.
  • Keep matches and lighters where children can’t see or reach them.
  • Take special care when you’re tired or when you've been drinking.
  • Don’t leave the TV or other electrical appliances on standby as this could cause a fire. Always switch it off and unplug when it’s not in use.
  • Don’t leave the washing machine, tumble dryer or dishwasher running overnight or while you are out. They are a fire risk because of their high wattage, friction and motors.