When a coroner calls for action on smoke alarms then we should all sit up and take notice.
Doncaster coroner Nicola Mundy made the plea for all private landlords to be required to install smoke alarms after recording a verdict of accidental death as a result of smoke inhalation in the inquest of two-year-old Libby-Jayne Hornsby.
The Star offers its full support to Ms Mundy’s appeal and would urge readers to test your smoke alarms today or make enquiries into having one fitted if your property is currently without one.
For the vast majority of people – around 90 per cent of homes – smoke alarms are installed. However, it is estimated that only 60 per cent are regularly checked.
South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue already work closely with local councils and housing association providers to ensure their accommodation have fitted, working smoke alarms.
They are also smart in being able to target areas where there is a higher proportion of fires and offer a free fitting service of smoke alarms to potentially vulnerable homes.
There is no legislation currently that requires smoke alarms to be fitted but it’s heartening to know this kind of partnership is in place.
Fire prevention is obviously the best course to take but in the event of a fire breaking out a smoke alarm could provide a crucial early warning that enables people to get out of their home.
All too often we publish tragic accounts of people killed in house fires.
It’s human nature to wonder whether people could have been saved if a smoke alarm had been fitted.
Common sense would say that private landlords should welcome this appeal for smoke alarm legislation in their properties.
A conscientious landlord would no doubt have one installed anyway. However, for the benefit of all maybe a law needs to be created to provide an early warning if the worst should happen.
For information about free smoke alarm installation contact 0114 2532314.