The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service (HIWFRS) is urging residents to ensure they install adequate working smoke alarms as the number of house fires attended this year by the service has already exceeded 400.

HIWFRS has issued the warning during the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) Home Safety Week which runs until 20th June.

Data released by the NFCC shows that in 25% of UK house fires (2019-20) no working smoke alarms were present and in 18% of cases where smoke detectors were fitted, smoke alarms failed to activate.

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Whilst inadequate maintenance was a factor, the most common reason for the failure was the fact the fire was outside the alarm’s range, highlighting how vital it is for residents to ensure their whole home is protected in the event of a fire.

Group Manager for Community Safety at HIWFRS, John Amos, said:

“Working smoke alarms save lives and although that remains a vital message, we want to take the opportunity during NFCC Home Safety Week to remind people that they need to assess the needs of their individual homes when determining the level of protection they need, and in which rooms smoke alarms should be fitted.

“We advise fitting at least 1 smoke alarm on every floor of the home and ideally these should be fitted in the rooms that are used most often as this is where a fire is most likely to start.

“We offer additional support to fit smoke alarms for those who are most vulnerable to fire via our Safe and Well visits.”

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Just last week crews from Sandown, Ryde, Shanklin and Newport Command Support were called to a house fire in Brading after a neighbour heard an alarm sounding in the property. A stove fire was out on arrival and 1 adult male was rescued from the ground floor of the property.

The working smoke alarm alerted the neighbour who was able to call for help, highlighting the importance of having adequate working smoke detection in a property.

James Bywater, NFCC Lead for Home Detection commented:

“NFCC want people to think about the risks in their homes and ensure they take action to prevent incidents and ensure they have the right detection in the right places to be alert if an incident happens.

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“Home detection technology has advanced and products with sealed batteries or interlinked systems are available and as part of your home safety plan may give you and your family precious time to escape.”

Positioning, maintaining and testing smoke detectors in your home could save your life. For vital safety information about how to keep you and your family safe visit

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