Don't drown in toxic smoke

Check your smoke alarm regularly

Firefighters standing in front of a banner which states - don't drown in toxic smoke.

Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service supports the national Fire Kills campaign from the Department of Communities and Local Government - Don't Drown In Toxic Smoke.

Nine out of 10 households across the country now own a smoke alarm according to the most recent English Housing Survey - up from 74 per cent in 2001. However, a smoke alarm is only worth having if it works.

The `Don't Drown in Toxic Smoke' campaign encourages everyone to make sure they test their smoke alarms regularly as you are more than twice as likely to die in a house fire if you do not have a working smoke alarm.

Toxic smoke from a fire will affect your ability to breathe in a similar way to drowning - after just two to three breaths you're unconscious. The best way to buy the precious seconds to escape is by having a working smoking alarm. Owning an alarm and hoping that it works is not enough to protect your home and loved ones.

There are five key things that you can do to protect your home and family from fire:

1. Fit a smoke alarm on each level of the property. When a fire starts, there is little time to escape so an early warning is vital. Battery operated smoke alarm units should be replaced after 10 years. Or consider installing a mains powered alarm.

2. Test alarms weekly - a smoke alarm can buy valuable time, if it's working.

3. Plan your escape route - make sure you and your family know the quickest way out in the event of fire. Consider an alternative route in case your usual one is blocked.

4. Stay safe in the kitchen. This is the area where most house fires start.  It only takes a minute to check electrical appliances are switched off.  And never leave cooking unattended.

5. Ask the experts. Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service can advise on potential fire risks and advise what to do to reduce or prevent them. To speak to firefighters, contact your local fire station. A FREE home fire safety check may be available to you. Requests are prioritised according to individual risk.

If a fire does break out in the home, then Get out, Stay out and Call 999.


Further information