Fire and Rescue Services in the UK are doing an amazing job of promoting the message that people should test their smoke alarms on a weekly basis. Ideas such as #testittuesday on Twitter ensure that this vital message is delivered in a unified and effective manner.
However, for many people, compliance with this message is also an invitation to put themselves in physical danger by getting onto chairs or stepladders in order to push the button. The resultant risk of falling simply prohibits large sections of the population from carrying out the task. Similarly, most of us are put off by the sheer inconvenience of doing the job! Be honest when did you last test yours?
Philip Martin, Area Manager responsible for Community Safety and Risk Reduction at Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue, identified that the risk of injury was a barrier to the testing of smoke alarms and so designed a simple tool to make the task easier and safer. Philip said, “Sadly I have seen first-hand the tragic and needless loss of life in homes where smoke alarms were fitted but failed to operate when they were needed the most. It quickly became apparent that whilst the fire service was excellent at providing and helping fit smoke alarms, particularly in elderly people’s homes, no provision was being made for a method of testing the smoke alarm safely on a regular basis.”
Philip’s simple idea became the Goodpoint smoke alarm tester and UK fire and rescue services are adopting it as part of their home safety visits, in increasing numbers. International interest is also gaining momentum with US fire departments taking up the product, an Australian distributor and enquiries from around the globe. The Goodpoint can be printed with both fire service details and safety message(s) which creates a highly visible reminder to test weekly. In short: this fun, eye catching, durable and cost-effective tool is fast becoming the medium of choice to deliver both the message and the means to safe test your smoke alarm weekly.
Statistics surrounding fire deaths within the elderly population are shocking. Almost twice as many people over the age of 50 now die in dwelling fires in the UK each year compared to those under 50 (CFOA). Similarly, vulnerability such as experiencing mental health issues, drug or alcohol misuse, living alone or having limited mobility are seen as risk factors involved in fire deaths.
Another interesting angle is that the problem (in numerical terms) of smoke alarms that do not work is now greater than that of houses which do not have a smoke alarm at all. If we take the accepted statistic that 85% of UK households have a smoke alarm fitted we can see that approximately 3 million homes crucially still need to get one. However, it is estimated that one in three of the smoke alarms that are fitted no longer work for one reason or another – this is reflected in the dreadful figure that 28% of fire deaths occur in a dwelling where a smoke alarm was present but failed to work when required. The number of UK smoke alarms that currently do not work could therefore be close to 5 million!
To adopt Goodpoint as part of your community/home safety programme contact Ian McCord on +44 (0)1392 683397 or email [email protected]
For more information, go to www.goodpointcampaign.com