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Smoke alarms missing in a third of fatal fires

22nd August 2016

A study produced by forensic science student Victoria Moss, who has been on a yearlong work placement with South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue, in a unique partnership with Nottingham Trent University, shows that smoke alarms were missing in a third of fatal fires in Yorkshire.

In the last five years, 133 people have died in house fires in Yorkshire and Humber.

Other findings in the report, led by South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) with support from the three other Yorkshire and Humber fire and rescue services, include:

  • Early evening is the deadliest time of the day for fatal fires
  • Nearly a third (37) of all fire deaths were the result of arson
  • Smoking is Yorkshire’s biggest killer in accidental fires, causing nearly half (45%) of fatal blazes
  • Men are almost twice as likely to die in house fires as women
  • An accidental, fatal fire is more likely to start in the living room than any other room in the house

Area Manager Jonathan Foster from North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “We would echo the advice given by our South Yorkshire colleagues that smoke alarms should be fitted on every level of your home and tested regularly.

“We offer free home fire safety visits where we can identify fire risks in your home and fit smoke alarms if appropriate. If you think you would benefit from a visit please visit our website here or call 01609 788545.”  

He continues: “The findings of this research are useful in helping us to target the safety advice we give to members of the public. We will continue to work in partnership with various organisations to help deliver fire prevention and fire safety advice and hope this work, along with the learning from this report, will assist in reducing the number of fatal fires that occur in North Yorkshire.” 

You can find out more about smoke alarms here 


The South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue press release and a link to the report can be viewed here:

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