Fire alarm warning for Sidmouth residents

DEVON and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service is urging people to have smoke alarms fitted and check them weekly.

DEVON and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service is urging people to have smoke alarms fitted and check them weekly after two men died in separate incidents following accidental fires in their homes.

A 60-year-old man died following a fire in his bungalow at Lyddicleave Road, Bickington, on 27 April. A 76-year-old man died following a fire in the lounge of his bungalow at Camel Street, Marston Magna, on 4 May.

Initial investigations have indicated that in both incidents, smoke alarms were either not present or were not operational. Investigations were carried out by the police and fire service investigators and the incidents are now being dealt with by the Coroner.

Paul Slaven, PR Officer, said: "A smoke alarm is the simplest single step you can take to reduce the risk of dying from fire in your home. But if they are not working, they are useless, so it is important they are fitted properly and checked regularly."

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service advises you to:

* fit smoke alarms on the ceiling at each level in your home, in hallways and landings

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* keep them free from dust and test them once a week

* consider buying a ten-year alarm; otherwise, change the batteries in your alarms every year.

It is also important to keep halls and doorways, which would be used to escape in the event of fire, free from clutter and objects that may hinder your exit.

Both of the deceased men lived alone and had a large amount of hoarded material within their homes. If anyone is concerned that a family member, friend or neighbour may be at risk of having a fire in their home, they can contact the Service to carry out a home safety visit.

The Service does not 'cold call' residents without making an appointment but firefighters will carry out home safety visits if a person is referred by a concerned relative, friend or partner agency. This may involve fitting a free smoke alarm or providing fire safety advice. For a free home safety visit or to refer someone you are concerned about call 0800 73 11 822.