Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service are asking everyone to check their smoke alarms as well as their clocks this weekend as British Summer Time begins this Sunday and the clocks go forward.
211 families in England were left devastated last year when they lost loved ones unnecessarily in house fires, and over half of them were over 65 years old.
And there were 99 accidental house fires in Sunderland between January and December in 2013.
Dave Jefferson from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue said: “Everyone soon notices when a clock stops ticking, but it’s not so easy to be sure that your smoke alarms are still in working order. We recommend that you check them this weekend and continue to test them at least once a month. It really could save your life.
“Fires can happen for a number of reasons. It isn’t just carelessness with candles, smoking materials or overloaded sockets. It can happen when electrical items are faulty or by leaving cooking unattended. Even if you are extremely careful, you could suffer a fire.
“This is why you need the security of an effective warning system, especially if a fire happens at night when you are asleep in bed. Of the 584 accidental fires attended by our crews last year, over 15% of the homes did not have the life saving protection of a working smoke alarm.”
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service is offering free Home Safety Checks (HSC’s), advising residents how to stay safer from fire at home.
HSC’s include checking residents have working smoke alarms on every level of their home and ensuring they are in the correct position, as well as fitting them where required.
If you would like a free Home Safety Check, then call 0800 032 7777.
Or for more information on how to stay safe from fire visit www.twfire.gov.uk