Cut the risk - sign up for a smoke alarm

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TWENTY-three people have been killed, and 544 have been injured, in more than 2,000 house fires in just four years in South Yorkshire.

The shocking figures were revealed by fire bosses today - as The Star launches a campaign to urge everyone in South Yorkshire to get life-saving smoke alarms fitted in their homes.

Today The Star joins forces with South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue to get at least 200 readers to sign up for smoke alarm installation before the end of the year.

People aged 65 and over are particularly at risk.

Of the 544 people injured in blazes, more were pensioners than people from any other age group.

And of the 2,193 house blazes in South Yorkshire over the last four years, 641 were at properties which had never had alarms fitted.

Homes can be given safety checks and smoke alarms can be fitted free of charge by firefighters and community safety workers - and South Yorkshire’s Head of Community Safety Phil Shillito urged readers of The Star to sign up.

“Of all the house fires we have attended over the last four years, smoke alarms were fitted in only two thirds of them,” he revealed.

“Smoke alarms save lives - yet there are still people who, for whatever reasons, do not have one in their homes.

“Some people may think ‘it will never happen to me’ and there will be other people out there - especially the elderly - who may think it is a big job to install an alarm or they don’t have anybody to do it for them. But we will do it.

“Twenty-three people have died in house fires in four years, and 544 have been injured, with more over-65s than any other group.”

Despite the horrifying statistics, the number of accidental house fires in South Yorkshire is at an all time low.

“But there are still people getting injured and a smoke alarm could help avoid that,” said Phil.

“Many of the house fires we respond to are cooking related, where people have become distracted while cooking and forgotten they had a pan on the hob or food under the grill. “Smoke alarms would have alerted them and given them the chance to get out, stay out and call the fire service out.”

Chief Fire Officer Jamie Courtney agreed.

“Smoke alarms have been proven to reduce casualties across South Yorkshire, with record low numbers of deaths and fatalities in accidental house fires,” he said.

“But at the same time, we know there are still older people and vulnerable people living in our communities who still do not have the protection and peace of mind that working smoke alarms offer.

“Sadly, it is often exactly those groups who are also most at risk of suffering a fire in their home, and that’s why we’re urging older people or those caring for them to back The Star’s campaign and sign up for a free home safety check.”

n Are you aged 65 or over? And are you without smoke alarms in your home? Call South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue on 0114 253 2314 and quote ‘The Star’ to arrange a free home safety check.