Why fire service chiefs are re-thinking smoke alarm scheme

Area Manager Chris Kirby - WYFRS copyrigh
Area Manager Chris Kirby - WYFRS copyrigh

THE fire service may re-think where they install smoke alarms in people’s homes, after it was revealed most fatal house fires started in living rooms or bedrooms.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service normally installs smoke alarms in halls and landings when it carries out home safety assessments.

At a meeting of the West Yorkshire Fire Authority on Friday, members were given a presentation on fatal house fires in the region in recent years.

Members were told that 38 per cent of accidental fatal blazes in West Yorkshire had started in a lounge area, and 32 per cent started in a bedroom.

Fifty three people have died in accidental house fires over the last five years, and 27 of those had died in fires started by smoking materials.

Chris Kirby, area manager, said: “Currently most smoke detectors are placed in areas like halls or landings. These figures could make us think again where we install smoke detectors in the homes of people who are more vulnerable.”

He said the service may also consider linked alarms, which would sound throughout the house when one alarm is activated. He said it could help with disabled and elderly people.

Members were also told that 62 per cent of fatal house fire victims lived alone.

Referring to the large amount of smoking-related deaths, Mr Kirkby said the service was now encouraging people they visited to quit smoking altogether, rather than encouraging them to smoke on the doorstep or outside as they had done in the past.