Residents are being reminded to test their smoke alarm when the clocks go back this weekend.

Turning the clocks back an hour is something that people do automatically and Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) is seizing the opportunity to remind people to also take the time to test their smoke alarms and ensure they are working.

Smoke, the silent killer, is responsible for over half of all deaths in accidental fires in the home. Shockingly, in the majority of fatal house fires, smoke alarms were either absent or did not go off – and a common cause was missing or flat batteries.

A simple push of the test button and you can test both the power supply and the detection mechanism; it should be carried out as a vital part of any household routine.

A working smoke alarm can buy you valuable time to get out, stay out and call 999. However, half of all householders who own a smoke alarm say they don’t test that it is working on a regular basis.

Research has found people are more than four times as likely to die in a fire without a working smoke alarm, but only half of people who own an alarm say they take the time to check it regularly.

Paul Hedley, Chief Fire Officer at NFRS said: “Smoke alarms are a well-proven life saving tool, but only when they are working.

“Taking the time to test the smoke alarms in your home could be a truly lifesaving decision.

“The clock change weekend can act as a great reminder to test your smoke alarms – so over the weekend of 28-29 October why not test yours when you change the clocks, it could be the difference between life and death.”

Residents can keep themselves and their loved ones safe by following these simple steps:

  • Make sure you fit a smoke alarm on every level of your home and test them regularly.
  • Make testing your smoke alarm part of your household routine by pressing the button.
  • Change your battery once per year or invest in a ten-year alarm and clean the alarm casing twice per year to ensure dust doesn’t block the sensor.
  • Whatever happens, never remove the battery in your smoke alarm.
  • Make sure that everyone in your home knows what to do if a fire should be present and practice your escape route.