THE fire service is reminding people to keep their smoke alarms in good working order this year.

This is after more than 1,600 incidents in which there was no smoke alarm at all were dealt with in Herefordshire and Worcestershire in the last 10 years.

HW Fire and Rescue said that between April 2011 and the end of March 2021, more than 530 incidents saw smoke alarms set up too far from the fire to work.

In 240 cases the fire crews could not be certain whether there was a smoke alarm or not.

Moreover, nearly 80 alarms had a battery missing, the detector was removed in 40, nearly 35 had a defective battery and over 25 had a fault in the system.

For these reasons, the Fire Kills campaign and HWFRS are encouraging people in the two counties to start the new year by having a think about the smoke alarms in their home.

Emma Roberts, HWFRS head of prevention, said: "If you don’t have enough alarms, or they’re not in the right place, you might not be alerted in time.

"The vast majority of us now have at least one smoke alarm in our homes, but early detection and warning is vital to reduce the devastation a fire in the home can cause.

"Don’t forget that smoke alarms don’t last forever. The power might work, but the detection mechanism deteriorates with time.

"So, whether they’re battery operated or wired to the mains, to work at their best they should be replaced every ten years."

Despite the majority of homes nationally (over 90 per cent) having at least one working smoke alarm, smoke alarms only alerted householders to well under half of all fires in the home in England during the last decade.

The Fire Service's top tips for smoke alarms include installing at least one on every level of your home, fitting them in the right place on the ceiling and in the middle of a room or on a hallway or landing.

Other tips include testing them every week to make sure they still work, as well as not putting them in kitchens or bathrooms where smoke or steam could set them off by accident.