Test it Tuesday – Smoke alarm campaign

Test it Tuesday Smoke Alarm Campaign
Smoke alarm

Started nearly 5 years ago by Elle Flatt, Service Development Officer for Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, the #TestitTuesday combines the power of social media and public safety announcement to raise awareness. It’s an amazing example helps remind people to change behaviour and focus on the most simple yet easy to forget task of testing their smoke alarms.

Why is #TestitTuesday important to FireBug?

Having been in the fire industry for a number of years, we have seen the devastation a fire can cause. Having spoken to many fire fighters from all over the world, they cannot stress enough the importance of individuals to have smoke alarms in their houses (and businesses) and ensure they are working. The difference in severity from a home that use them vs those that don’t are life changing, truly.

Smoke alarms are cheap, easy to maintain and make the world of difference if and when a fire should occur. The photos we have seen and stories are enough to chill you to the bone and the message is just so simple – GET A SMOKE ALARM! Our fire fighting equipment is amazing (of course!) however, by the time a fire fighter arrives on the scene to use our fire fighting nozzles your property has already suffered damage and we can only hope that by they arrive, that all your family members are safe and sound outside.

Who is the campaign targeting?

YOU. Aimed at individuals as well as businesses, the #TestitTuesday campaign is a weekly reminder to Twitter users primarily and hopefully by now has spread across many more media platforms to reach the masses. It is promoted by many companies and individuals involved in the fire fighting industry to the public.

Prevention is key when it comes to fire.

Changing behaviours

Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service have tried to incorporate this simple task into New Years Resolutions. Station Manager, Alan Richmond said:

“At this time of year, many people will be thinking of what they can do, big or small, to make a fresh start and improve their lives, homes and wellbeing. A smoke alarm can offer vital protection for you and your loved ones, but most people simply fit and forget – they don’t know if it might be coming to the end of its lifespan or not working at all.

“For most of us, there is nothing more important than keeping our loved ones safe and secure. So if your alarm is getting past its best, or your top floor is missing an alarm of its own, make your New Year’s resolution to fit new ones, test them every #TestitTuesday and protect your loved ones in 2015.” Twitter (@DerbyshireFRS)

Where should a smoke alarm go & how do I look after it?

  • Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of your home where possible. Minimum of one per floor where not possible.
  • Test your smoke alarms week where possible or monthly at worst (there are even handy little poking sticks you can buy online, failing that a broom will help!)
  • When a smoke alarm sounds, get outside and stay outside
  • Replace all smoke alarms in your home every 10 years

There are two types of smoke alarms, which type should I go for?

Ionisation alarms
These are the cheapest and most readily available and are very sensitive to flaming fires (ones that burn fiercely such as chip-pan fires). Ionisation alarms will detect flaming fires before the smoke gets too thick.

Optical alarms
These are more expensive and more effective at detecting slow-burning fires (such as smouldering foam-filled furniture or overheated wiring). Optical alarms are less likely to go off accidentally and so are best for ground-floor hallways and for homes on one level.

For the best protection, you should install one of each. However, if you can’t have both, it’s still safer to have either one, rather than none at all.

British Standard Kitemark
Whichever model you choose, you should make sure that it meets British Standard 5446, Part 1 (BS 5446-1) and ideally also carries the British Standard Kitemark. Your local Fire and Rescue Service will help you decide which is best for your circumstances if you would like some advice.

Smoke alarm facts:

  • 96% of homes in the US have at least one smoke alarm
  • In 2007-2011, smoke alarms sounded in half of the home fires reported to U.S. fire departments.
  • Three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
  • No smoke alarms were present in more than one-third (37%) of the home fire deaths.

How to test your smoke alarm:

At Home: Simply test it once a week, by pressing the test button until the alarm sounds or follow this step by step guide: http://www.wikihow.com/Test-a-Smoke-Detector

Business Premises: Southern Care Maintenance have put together a short YouTube video which is handy for businesses on testing your fire alarm: http://youtu.be/hdhWzmBv5fE

Test your alarm, it will work like a charm!

#TestitTuesday ‪#‎Firefighter‬ ‪#‎Fire‬ #SmokeAlarm

Thanks to http://www.nfpa.org for some information which was used above including NFPA’s “Smoke Alarms in U.S. Home Fires” report, (March 2014)

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