Fire Kills: Test smoke alarms regularly, warns fire minister

Chief fire officer Paul Fuller with Brandon Lewis MP

Chief fire officer Paul Fuller with Brandon Lewis MP

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Luton played host to fire minister Brandon Lewis today as he launched this year’s Fire Kills campaign.

Mr Lewis was at Luton Fire Station as he highlighted the importance of regularly testing smoke alarms in the home.

He was introduced to Kelly Gilbert, who was recently saved from a fire in her Potton home. Ms Gilbert and her daughter had been asleep upstairs when they were woken by the alarm to a fire that had started in a cupboard under the stairs.

Thanks to the alarm, they were able to leave the house quickly by the time the firefighters arrived.

“There were 229 fire related deaths in the home last year,” said Mr Lewis. “The Fire Kills campaign hopes that by encouraging everyone to test their smoke alarms at least once a month more deaths can be prevented. It couldn’t be any clearer, smoke alarms only save lives if they are working. Test it today.”

The Minister met Beds Fire and Rescue Service staff and was taken on a tour of the station’s home safety centre - a replica of a modern living room that shows everyday fire hazards.

Chief fire officer Paul Fuller stressed that home fire safety is something that people need to be aware of every day, all year round. He said: “Everyone needs to realise that a working smoke alarm can save your life, the same applies to carbon monoxide alarms.

“Our collaboration with the police and ambulance services means that we are now working even more widely as Team Bedfordshire to offer a range of community safety initiatives.”

Beds Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway also attended the launch. She said: “It’s not just homeowners, landlords need to ensure that their properties are fitted with the necessary alarms and that they are working correctly. We have many people, including students, who live in rented accommodation in Bedfordshire and we need to ensure that these homes are properly protected.”