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Moving into a new home is a good time to consider the simple but important aspect of smoke alarms. Have you got at least one in your home? If so, are you sure it works? They are not expensive and can be purchased for under ?10 each.

Tragically, the death rate in domestic fires where there is no working smoke alarm is twice as high as in homes fitted with a working smoke alarm and although around 80% of the population now own smoke alarms, statistics show that nearly a third of these are not functioning due to flat or missing batteries.

People omit to check battery life, or they remove batteries to run other appliances or because an incorrectly sited alarm repeatedly goes off, caused by kitchen cooking. Phil Hope, Minister responsible for Fire Safety urges people to check their smoke alarm batteries at least weekly, "To help remember, why not try linking it to another weekly household task, such as putting the bins out,? he said.

Here are some essential tips to ensure your smoke alarm will do the job it is designed to do ? and possibly save your life:

? Fit smoke alarms on each level of your home.
? Do not put smoke alarms in the kitchen.
? Check the battery once a week.
? Replace the battery every twelve months.
? Battery operated smoke alarm units should be changed every ten years.
? Consider installing ten-year smoke alarms or hard-wired alarms.
? Larger properties should have hard wired alarms that go off in each room when a fire is detected elsewhere in the house.

Further information on smoke alarm maintenance and fire safety can be found at: www.firekills.gov.uk


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