RESIDENTS are being urged to make fire safety a priority – and are reminded that it only takes a few seconds to save lives.

As part of the Fire Kills campaign, Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service is asking people to make sure they fit smoke alarms on every level of their home and to test them regularly.

The brigade says many people see January as an opportunity for a fresh start – and fire safety should be top of the list.

Latest fire statistics reveal that one smoke alarm may not be enough to provide you with the best chance of escaping a fire in the home. Most people know a working smoke alarm can save lives by providing those vital few seconds needed to escape a fire in the home. But, despite the majority of homes having at least one working smoke alarm in their home, smoke alarms alerted householders to a fire in England in only 43per cent of cases. The most common reason a smoke alarm failed to activate was because the fire was outside its range.

For this reason, the Fire Kills campaign and Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service are encouraging people to have a think about the smoke alarms in their home.

“We must all make sure that we have enough smoke alarms to cover our whole homes,” said Vikki Thomas, Safe and Well Manager from Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service. “If you don’t have enough, or they’re not in the right place, you might not be alerted in time.

“The vast majority of us now have at least one smoke alarm in our homes, but early detection and warning is vital to reduce the devastation a fire in the home can cause. That’s why it’s so important that you have enough smoke alarms and that they are in the right place to have the best chance of alerting you and your loved ones to a fire.”

She added: “You should make sure you have at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home, preferably in hallways and landings. And placing smoke detectors near to sleeping areas and in rooms where there are electrical appliances could give you the extra warning you need. It’s also important to remember that smoke alarms don’t last forever. The power might work, but the detection mechanism deteriorates with time. So, whether they are battery operated or wired to the mains, to work at their best they should be replaced every ten years.”