With people again being urged to work from home because of COVID-19, West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) is urging members of the public to ensure they and their loved ones have working smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms, to keep them safe.
The call comes at the start of Home Safety Week (28 Sept – 4 Oct), as figures reveal that only 15 per cent of UK households have CO alarms.
Carbon monoxide is a highly-poisonous gas that people cannot see, taste or smell, so any room with a fuel-burning appliance such as an open fire, wood-burning stove, or a gas boiler or cooker should have a working CO alarm fitted.
Over the last three years, smoke alarms failed to go off in 45 per cent of 5,000 fires in West Midlands homes – in many cases because the fire was beyond the range of the alarm, highlighting the importance of fitting them on all levels of your home and in the areas and rooms you use most.
WMFS advises that at least one smoke alarm should be fitted on each level of a property, especially in rooms used the most. A CO alarm must also be positioned next to any fuel-burning appliance and if someone is fitting them, the advice from WMFS is that they should be registered and suitably qualified tradespeople.
Pete Wilson, WMFS’s Group Manager for Prevention, said: “Home safety is important year-round, but now even more so with so many people working from home because of the pandemic.
“As we approach winter and use of open fires, central heating and cooking increases, now is the time to make sure you’ve got the right alarms in the right places.
“In the event of a fire or carbon monoxide incident, alarms provide precious time to escape. We want every household across the West Midlands to ensure the right alarms are fitted, checked regularly and replaced at least every 10 years.
“Because of lockdown restrictions, we recognise that checking on vulnerable family, friends and neighbours can be difficult. If someone you know is vulnerable and you think they haven’t got working smoke alarms please refer them for a Safe and Well visit, by visiting the WMFS website.”
For the latest up to date advice and information about keeping your home safe please see our home safety page.