Since the beginning of 2017 sadly ten people have died in fires across the capital. In all but one of these cases, the Brigade was only called when a neighbour noticed the fire. In the other instance, the smoke alarm operated and was linked to a personal alarm provider who called the Brigade.
Over half of all dwelling fires that the London Fire Brigade attended last year did not have a smoke alarm that worked or sounded which often means the fire remains undiscovered for some time.
In fatal fires, the trend is even more worrying. Two years ago a smoke alarm sounded at 74 per cent of fatal fires. Last year the figure was 41 per cent and so far this year only 29 per cent.
London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton said;
“While the coroner has yet to determine cause of death we believe that many of these deaths could have been avoided if the victims had working smoke alarms.
“Often the most deadly fires are small fires that quietly smoulder and smoke while people are asleep or in a different room. Without the early warning of a smoke alarm, people can be over come with smoke before the fire is discovered. Please fit at least one smoke alarm on every floor of your property and regularly check them. The quicker firefighters are alerted, the quicker we can help save lives and prevent fires from spreading. Get out, stay out and dial 999.
“It is devastating that in 2017 people are dying from fire in homes without life-saving smoke alarms on every level of their property. Last year we visited over 70,000 homes of London’s most vulnerable carrying out home fire safety visits but there is a lot more we all must do to educate people about the benefits of smoke alarms for everyone and sprinklers for the most vulnerable.”
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, said:
“It is deeply concerning that Londoners are risking their lives by not having working smoke alarms in their homes. Smoke alarms provide a vital warning in case of fire and can mean the difference between life and death. I urge Londoners to take the Fire Brigade’s advice and fit alarms in your home, helping them in the fantastic work they do every day to keep us safe.”
Londoners should always ensure you have at least one smoke alarm fitted on the ceiling of every floor in your home – ideally placing smoke alarms in every room of your home where there is a fire risk, and linking all the alarms together.
If a smoke alarm is only fitted in the hallway, should a fire start in the bedroom, the occupant's life may already be at risk before the alarm would activate.
The top four causes of fire in London
Electrical supply, appliances and devices
Smoking and smoking materials
Matches and candle (including incense sticks.)
People most at risk from fire
Illness or recovery from illness
Alcohol and drugs (including prescription)