Extra day could make all the difference in fire safety

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Firefighters are urging people to use just a few seconds of this year’s extra day, February 29, to do something that could potentially save lives.

They want everyone who is not already carrying out a regular smoke alarm test to do one on Wednesday – and to commit to making it part of their weekly routine.

Chris Bailey, head of Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service’s community safety team, said: “It’s not enough simply to have smoke alarms and hope that they work.

“A faulty or disconnected smoke alarm is no protection for you or your family, and increases the risk of death or injury in the event of a fire.

“We are asking people to set aside a few seconds of the extra Leap Year day to push the test button to make sure it beeps, and to carry on doing this once a week.”

Chris is also encouraging people to follow this simple fire safety checklist:

Fit a smoke alarm on each level of the property. When a fire starts, you only have a few minutes to escape, so an early warning is vital. Make sure you replace battery-operated smoke alarm units after 10 years. Alternatively consider installing a 10-year battery smoke alarm or mains-powered alarms.

Test them weekly - working smoke alarms can buy you valuable time to get out, stay out and dial 999.

Plan your escape route. Make sure you and your family know the quickest way out in the event of fire. Consider an alternative route in case your usual one is blocked.

Stay safe in the kitchen. This is the area where most house fires start. It only takes a minute to check electrical appliances are switched off. Also, never leave cooking unattended.

Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service offers free home safety checks to identify potential fire risks and advise what to do to reduce or prevent them. To find out more, ring 01296 744477 or send an email to