Vital action when you put your clock forward

The Fire Brigade's safety message
The Fire Brigade's safety message
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LOSE an hour’s sleep tonight– not your life.

That was the message from firefighters urging Wearsiders to perform an important task today.

When people put their clocks forward tonight, fire crews across Sunderland also want them to test their smoke alarms.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service has joined forces with the Fire Kills campaign to hammer home the message about the importance of having a working smoke alarm.

In a fire they can buy valuable time to get out and call 999, but just half of all Wearside householders who own a smoke alarm test it regularly.

Statistics show that people are four times more likely to die in a fire if their smoke alarm is not working.

There were 146 accidental house fires in Sunderland between January and December 2011, which led to two deaths and 43 injuries.

The Fire Kills campaign hopes that by adding this simple check to the clock-change routine, many more lives could be saved.

Group manager Dave Jefferson, of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Everyone soon notices when a clock stops ticking, but it’s not so easy to be sure that your smoke alarm is still in working order.

“Whether the battery is flat, has been removed or the connection is loose, everyone should take the time to test their smoke alarm.

“The fact that your chances of dying in a fire increase by four times without a working smoke alarm makes it all the more disappointing that only half of the people who own one say they take the time to test it regularly.

“We’re all losing sleep at the start of British Summer Time, but testing your smoke alarm could save you from losing a lot more.

“As you put your clocks forward around Sunday, take an extra moment to push the button – it could save your life.”

Twitter: @janethejourno