Firefighters across South Yorkshire are urging people to put smoke alarm testing at the top of their Christmas preparation list, as the big day draws closer.
The plea comes following several examples in recent weeks, from right across the country, where working smoke alarms have saved lives, pets and homes from serious harm.
With everyone busy buying gifts, putting up decorations and making plans, officers are hoping people will be able to find 60 seconds to test their alarms.
They are also urging people to sign up for smoke alarm testing reminders, provided by South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) for free, at pressthebutton.co.uk.
“We’ve long urged people to ensure they have working smoke alarms on every level of their home, but we know everyone is busy, and sometimes these things get forgotten,” said Station Manager Steve Jones, who works in the SYFR prevention team.
“However, given most people will be making time for their Christmas preparation over the coming weeks, we’re hoping that they may be able to squeeze in the time to test their alarms, and sign up for our regular testing reminders.
“They really are life-saving devices and we’ve seen countless examples in recent months and years of how getting early warning of a fire can save your life.
“Beyond that, working smoke alarms can also save your home. Early warning of a fire doesn’t just mean you can get out early, it means the fire can be dealt with quicker.
“Even relatively small fires can cause smoke damage that renders your home uninhabitable and, ultimately, cause you a world of pain dealing with insurance issues.”
The service will be running this latest campaign – Press The Button – throughout December. Officers hope to see a steep increase in the amount of people signing up for the weekly or monthly testing reminders.
Last year it was revealed that in 49 percent of the house fires attended by South Yorkshire crews in 2019, there were no working smoke alarms present.
At the same time, local mum Rachael Shaw, from Parsons Cross in Sheffield, issued her own smoke alarm plea – after her house was destroyed by fire earlier in the year.
“If it wasn’t for the smoke alarm, realistically we would never have known the house was on fire. We never thought they were that important and yet they literally saved our lives,” she said at the time.
The service is also offering a range of other fire safety advice as Christmas Day draws closer and closer:
- On electrics, ensure products are genuine and bought from reputable suppliers
- On candles, make sure they are kept away from things like curtains and decorations
- On cooking, never cook drunk and always ‘stand by your pan’
More information on fire safety over the Christmas period can be found on the service’s website, www.syfire.gov.uk.