Celebs Push The Button

Celebrities from across the music, showbiz, and sporting worlds are backing the Government’s Fire Kills campaign with a “Push It Pledge” to urge people to test their smoke alarm every week.

Coronation Street’s on-screen sisters, Helen Flanagan and Brooke Vincent (aka Rosie and Sophie Webster), along with a host of other famous faces - including Hampshire’s celebrity chef James Martin - are all making a pledge to test their smoke alarm every week. This is a vital step in helping the nation to reduce the number of deaths and injuries caused by accidental house fires.

Eighty five per cent of people own a smoke alarm, but worryingly less than a third test them every week. This is despite the fact that you are more than twice as likely to die in an accidental house fire if you don’t have a working smoke alarm. Just two to three breaths of toxic smoke can render you unconscious, your lungs fill up and you can’t breathe, just like drowning. It’s imperative that a smoke alarm is not only installed in your home, but that it actually works.

Helen Flanagan, who is supporting the campaign, said: “At home, we’ve been guilty of not testing our smoke alarms as regularly as we should, but this campaign has made me realise how important it is to take just a few seconds every week to push the button and ensure our alarms are working. It’s scary how quickly a house fire can spread and in so many cases, it’s the smoke alarm that can make the difference between someone being able to escape in time, or not. We will be testing our smoke alarms every week from now on.”

John Bonney, Chief Officer of Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service and President of the Chief Officers' Association: “A smoke alarm can buy valuable time to escape from a fire, but only if it’s working properly. It’s not enough to just install smoke alarms in your home - you must test them every week. The main reason that smoke alarms fail to activate is missing or flat batteries - if the battery needs replacing, do so immediately.”

Installing a smoke alarm only takes a few minutes - just follow the manufacturer's instructions that come with it. The best place is on the ceiling, near or in the middle of the room or hall. The alarm should be at least 30cm (12 inches) away from a wall or light.

The more alarms you have, the safer you'll be. Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service recommends you have at least one alarm on every floor of your home to ensure the earliest detection of a fire.

If you have a TV or other large electrical appliance (such as a computer) in any of the bedrooms, you should fit a smoke alarm there too, but do not fit one in a kitchen or bathroom where smoke or steam may set them off accidentally.

Maintaining your smoke alarm

To keep your smoke alarm in good working order, you should:

  • Test it once a week, by pressing the test button until the alarm sounds
  • Change the battery once a year (unless it’s a ten-year alarm or a mains-connected alarm)
  • Replace the whole unit every ten years

To pledge to test your smoke alarm every week and to see which celebrities will be “Pushing the Button” visit www.direct.gov.uk/firekills/pledge