Three people saved thanks to smoke alarm

Harrietsham News

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Three people saved thanks to smoke alarm

Posted: 27/04/2008 20:51:49

Fire crews have spoken out about the importance of having working smoke alarms fitted in your home after three people escaped with their lives, thanks to a neighbour hearing a smoke alarm sounding at a cottage in Goddington Lane, Harrietsham this morning.

Fire control operators received a single call at 5.09 am from a man who was woken by the sound of a smoke alarm and saw smoke issuing from a house opposite. With people believed to be asleep inside, two retained fire crews from Lenham and Charing were sent to the scene.

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus searched the property and crews led an elderly woman to safety. Two other people, a mother and son, were also led to safety by the neighbour who had raised the alarm.

Lenham crew manager Bruce Mathews, who was in charge at the scene, said: “I am certain that without the smoke alarm providing vital early warning of the fire, we would have been facing a far more serious incident. The neighbour’s prompt actions in calling out the fire service probably saved the lives of these people.”

The elderly woman was taken to hospital suffering smoke inhalation, although her injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.

The fire is believed to have started when an electric blanket caught alight in an upstairs bedroom. Fortunately crews managed to contain the fire to the bed and mattress; however the blaze caused considerable smoke damage in the bedroom and upstairs landing of the cottage.
Crew Manager Matthews added: “Although electric blankets are not dangerous in themselves, if they are over ten years old or have not been electrically tested in the last year the risk of them developing a fault and starting a potentially fatal fire is dramatically increased.”

As is usual after such incidents, fire crews gave out fire safety advice to local residents and fitted smoke alarms in neighbouring properties.

Kent Fire and Rescue Service offers free home fire safety checks to identify potential fire risks and advises what to do to reduce or prevent them. The checks take about 30 minutes and include if required the fitting free 10-year smoke alarms.

Crew Manager Mathews continued: “I would urge all Kent residents to take advantage this service. to arrange a free Home Fire Safety Check or to find out more simply call Kent Fire and Rescue Service for free on 0800 923 7000.”

Here are some fire safety tips for using electric blankets:

• Don’t fold electric blankets. Protect the wiring inside them by storing them flat or rolled up
• Don’t leave an electric blanket switched on all night, unless it is thermostatically controlled so it can be used all night
• Electric blankets should carry the British Standard Kitemark and the British Electrotechnical Approvals Board (BEAB) symbol on them
• Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using an electric blanket
• Get your blanket tested regularly either by returning it to the manufacturer, or by an approved contractor
• If your blanket is over ten years old, or showing signs of wear - replace it with a new one.

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