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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Don't 'borrow' smoke alarm batteries to test out toys

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Fire engine

Parents are being urged not to borrow batteries from smoke alarms when their children are trying out new toys over the Christmas holiday.

"Statistics show that more accidental fires happen in December than at any other time of year so it is particularly important that people take every precaution possible to protect themselves and their families. The risks are increased due to people being at home for the Christmas break, enjoying a drink with family and friends and the fact that there are additional potential hazards such as tree lights, candles and wrapping paper." 

A host of electronic gadgets will be unwrapped across the county on December 25 – with batteries often being forgotten on the festive shopping trip.

The Service is urging people not to remove batteries from smoke alarms to power the toys and equipment as they could be putting their lives, and that of their family, at risk.

Head of Risk Reduction Jim Bywater said: “It is absolutely vital that every home has working smoke alarms – we have had a number of incidents across the county this year where lives have literally been saved thanks to smoke detectors activating.

“Statistics show that more accidental fires happen in December than at any other time of year so it is particularly important that people take every precaution possible to protect themselves and their families. The risks are increased due to people being at home for the Christmas break, enjoying a drink with family and friends and the fact that there are additional potential hazards such as tree lights, candles and wrapping paper.

“While it may be a temptation to ‘borrow’ the batteries to try out a new toy or gadget, it is easy to forget to put them back into the smoke alarm so don’t take the risk. We would also encourage people to test the smoke alarms of any older or vulnerable friends, relatives or neighbours. It is not an exaggeration to say that this could have life-saving consequences.”

Residents can contact the Service on 0800 0241 999 if they experience problems with their smoke alarm over the Christmas period and need assistance.