Working smoke alarm saves the day!

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Working smoke alarm saves the day!

Posted: 05/01/2009 18:01:08

The importance of having working smoke alarms in the home was demonstrated yet again yesterday (4th January) when an elderly resident from Folkestone escaped from fire in her home.

The 86 year-old woman was cooking in her basement flat in Castle Hill Avenue when the smoke alarms - designed for those who are hard of hearing - in the property began to sound and flash. She immediately left the building, closing all doors behind her in the process and dialled 999.

Firefighters - who arrived on the scene just minutes later – entered the heavily smoke filled property wearing breathing apparatus and used a thermal imaging camera to identify the source of the fire and to check for further fire spread. They then quickly extinguished the blaze using a hose reel jet and removed the burning material.

Watch Manager Mark Jones said: “As this incident demonstrates smoke alarms provide vital early warning to the outbreak of fire. Fortunately smoke alarms had already been fitted in the flat and this, combined with the prompt actions of the occupier and fire crews on the scene, meant the fire was quickly contained.

“Lasting damage to the flat was minimal and thanks to the quick-thinking firefighters at the scene, most of the woman’s personal possessions, such as photographs, paintings and antiquities, survived the fire.

“The woman owes a lot to her smoke alarms – without them this fire could have gone undetected for a lot longer, with potentially tragic circumstances.”
The fire, which started in the living room, is believed to have been caused by an overheated television set.

Ambulance crews administered oxygen to the woman who was suffering from the effects of smoke inhalation and later transported her to hospital as a precaution.

As is routine after an incident of this nature, local fire crews will be visiting the area to remind home owners of the free home safety visit scheme which Kent Fire and Rescue Service offers.

The visits take around 30 minutes and include tips on cooking safely, the dangers of smoking materials, care with candles, and planning escape routes in the event of fire. Free 10-year battery smoke alarms are also fitted when needed to give early warning of fire and help people escape. By following the advice given during the check, people can also reduce the risk of fire in their home.

To book a visit call the Community Safety Team for free on 0800 923 7000 or call your local fire station.

In the meantime follow these tips to keep you and your family safe from the threat of fire:
• Make sure you have a smoke alarm on every floor of your home and make sure you test it weekly
• Plan an escape route for the event of fire, practice it and make sure that everyone knows what to do when a fire strikes
• Make sure that your planned escape route remains free of any obstructions and that there are no loose floor coverings that could trip you up
• Ensure that the key to the final escape exit is readily available, close to hand and that everyone in the house knows where it is


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