Fire KillsFire Minister Brandon Lewis launched this year’s Fire Kills campaign November 7th at Luton Fire Station where he highlighted the importance of having and testing smoke alarms in the home.

The Minister was welcomed by Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Chief Fire Officer Paul Fuller.

Mr Fuller introduced the Minister to Kelly Gilbert, who was recently saved from a fire in her home in Potton with her young baby after being alerted to the blaze by a smoke alarm.  The fire left the ground floor of her house with more than 60 per cent damage but both escaped without injury.  They had been asleep upstairs when they were woken by the alarm to a fire that had started in a cupboard under the stairs.  Thanks to the alarm they were able to leave the house quickly and safely but by the time the Firefighters arrived, only six minutes later, the fire was already well developed.

“There were 229 fire related deaths in the home last year,” said the Minister.  “The Fire Kills campaign hopes that by encouraging everyone to test their smoke alarms at least once a month more deaths can be prevented.  It couldn’t be any clearer, smoke alarms only save lives if they are working.  Test it today.”

The Minister met Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service staff and was taken on a tour of the station’s Home Safety Centre which demonstrates the potential everyday fire hazards in a home.

Mr Fuller was delighted that the Minister launched this important campaign in Bedfordshire but stressed that home fire safety is something that people need to be aware of every day, all year round.   “Everyone needs to realise that a working smoke alarm can save your life, the same applies to carbon monoxide alarms. Our collaboration with the Police and Ambulance services means that we are now working even more widely as Team Bedfordshire to offer a range of community safety initiatives.”

Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway who was also at the launch said:  “It’s not just homeowners; landlords need to ensure that their properties are fitted with the necessary alarms and that they are working correctly.  We have many people, including students, who live in rented accommodation in Bedfordshire and we need to ensure that these homes are properly protected.”