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TICK. TOCK. TEST your smoke alarm. Before it’s too late.

20th October 2014

Smoke, the silent killer, is responsible for over half of all deaths in accidental fires in the home  

 Last year over half the 213 fire deaths in the home were caused by smoke inhalation. Working smoke alarms can give people the wake-up call they need to escape – because smoke will not, it will leave you for dead.

 Shockingly, in  the majority of domestic fires with fatalities, smoke alarms were either absent or did not go off – and a common cause was missing or flat batteries. That is why the Fire Kills campaign, run in partnership with North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, is asking people to make an online pledge to test their smoke alarms this clock change weekend (25-26 October). A simple push of the test button and you will test both the power supply and the detection mechanism.

 In March 2014, nearly one in seven people tested their smoke alarms when they changed their clocks to British Summer Time. This autumn, North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is determined that even more people will keep their loved ones safer from fire by testing their smoke alarms. Everyone can join in and pledge to Tick Tock Test.

Pledgers will be able to sign up on the Fire Kills Facebook page or click on special Fire Kills ‘Tick Tock Test’ adverts when they see them online and on their mobile phones. 

Over half the people who died in fires in the home last year were 65 years old or over. So as well as testing their own alarms, Fire Kills is urging householders to test for people who might need help testing theirs. The few seconds it takes to test could provide a few valuable minutes for loved ones to escape safely. 

 Fire Minister Penny Mordaunt said; 

The simple act of pressing a button and testing the smoke alarms in your home could be the difference between life and death. On clock change weekend, when you turn back the clocks in your home I urge everyone to Tick Tock Test their smoke alarms too. It takes very little extra time and could well be a life saver.

At the last clock change nearly 1 in 7 people reached for the test button and I hope that this October many more do the same, not just in their own homes but in the homes of those they know and love who might find it difficult to test for themselves.

I want to see thousands of responsible householders pledging to test – and then doing it over the weekend of 25-26 October. Let’s save more lives”.

Station Manager Bob Hoskins from North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said:  

Smoke alarms are a well-proven life saving tool, but they are no use if they are not working. You are at least four times more likely to die in a fire if you don’t have a working smoke alarm, so taking the time to test the smoke alarms in your home could be a truly life saving decision.

The clock change weekend can act as a great reminder to test your smoke alarms – so over the weekend of 25-26 October why not test yours when you change the clocks.”

The new Fire Kills campaign focuses on the deadly effects of smoke –engulfing innocent victims as they sleep. Many people believe smoke will wake them up if fire breaks out – but it won’t, it will leave them for dead. A working smoke alarm is the most effective way to alert you to the danger. The campaign features radio adverts voiced by actor Robbie Gee describing how smoke creeps around and engulfs you. The press and online adverts feature people asleep at home being overcome by smoke.


Notes to Editors:

  1. The change from British Summer Time to Greenwich Mean Time is at 2am on Sunday 26 October.
  2. There are a number of materials available to back Fire Kills’ clock change campaign:
  • Images: A haunting range of images of a child, a young man and an older pensioner oblivious to being engulfed by smoke from a fire in their home. [link]
  • Radio adverts/audio: TV actor Robbie Gee tells two powerful stories of fires breaking out and smoke overcoming the residents. They end with a reminder for people to Tick Tock Test the smoke alarms in their homes and those of the people they love who need help testing theirs. Before it’s too late.
  • Online/mobile: Using the same images as the press advertising, people are urged to Tick Tock Test and pledge that they will be testing their smoke alarms at clock change weekend.
  • Online video: A haunting video by director Paul Shearer which portrays the smoke from a fire that breaks out in a house overnight as a breathing killer, smothering the small girl in its path.

3. Find out more about Fire Kills at or

4.  Find us on twitter @Fire_Kills and hashtag #TickTockTest  when you test your smoke alarms



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