People can now opt to receive free weekly reminders to test their smoke alarms thanks to an initiative kick-started today, Monday 8 July, by South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue.
The service has just refreshed its website, www.pressthebutton.co.uk, where people can opt into alerts either via Twitter, text or email.
Hundreds of people signed up to get the reminders when the website was first launched, a number of years ago, and it is hoped that more people will now follow suit.
“We’ve been asking people to regularly test their smoke alarms for quite some time now, but we’re very aware that everyone has extremely busy lives,” said Station Manager Matt Gillatt, from the joint police and fire community safety team.
“With everything going on smoke alarm testing can easily be forgotten – even if it does only take a second and can potentially save your life.
“Our dream is that everyone tests their smoke alarm each week, without fail, and our hope is that this reminder service helps bring us closer to fulfilling that dream.”
Visitors to the website are asked to input their name and either a phone number, email address or Twitter handle – they can then choose to get weekly or monthly reminders.
The service in South Yorkshire recommends weekly and, according to Matt, the majority of people signed up at present choose to get their reminders via email.
“Smoke alarms give you an early warning should a fire hit and have been responsible not only for saving multiple lives across our county in recent years, but also for helping limit damage to people’s homes.
“Whilst protecting life is what we’re here for, it’s important to remember that getting hurt isn’t the only risk that fire poses. A house fire, even where nobody is involved, can turn your life around and be a huge inconvenience.
“I’d highly recommend people take a few minutes to opt in to these reminders and, when you get them each week, you act on the prompt.”
The re-launch comes after a Sheffield woman credited working smoke alarms for her escape from a fire that gutted her flat, on Park Grange Croft, in November last year.
Patricia Proctor was just about to get in the shower at around 10.30am, on Friday 30 November, when her smoke alarms – which had been fitted by the fire service only weeks before – went off.
Unable to see the fire herself, which was developing in a boiler cupboard and starting to spread within her walls, Patricia thought the alarms may just be sounding as a test – until her neighbours, and subsequently her son, knocked on the door and got her out of the property.
The 80-year-old, who had been referred to South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue by Age UK in September last year, said: “I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t even know or see that it was a fire, I didn’t know you could have electrical fires in boiler cupboards.
“I thought everyone had smoke alarms but you can see why they put them in, if you’ve not got them. They don’t just do it for no reason.”
You can sign up for the free reminders at www.pressthebutton.co.uk.