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Thursday, 6 September, 2001, 02:31 GMT 03:31 UK
Smoke alarm campaign launched
Smoke alarms can cost as little as three pounds
Television stars are supporting a government scheme to get people to fit smoke alarms.

Stars from The Royle Family and Coronation Street are launching the campaign, entitled Excuses kill - Get a smoke alarm, at a Manchester fire station.

Last year more than 400 people died and a further 12,500 were injured due to fires in the home.

A working smoke alarm would have saved 270 of those people.

It is extremely frustrating for firefighters called to incidents where a correctly-fitted fire alarm could have prevented a tragedy

John Judd, Greater Manchester Fire Brigade
Liz Smith, who plays Nanna in the Royle Family, said: "Fire spreads in minutes and smoke can kill in seconds, and older people can often be at risk.

"We need to highlight these facts if we want to make everyone aware that a correctly fitted smoke alarm can dramatically increase their chances of surviving a fire."

'Flat batteries'

Those behind the campaign say lives could be saved for the sake of a few pounds.

Fire safety minister, Alan Whitehead, said: "Every home should have at least one smoke alarm that works.

Liz Smith
Liz Smith: Elderly should have smoke alarms

"Through this campaign we are making sure that everyone knows how simple it is to buy and install this life-saving device."

John Judd, assistant county officer for Greater Manchester Fire Service, said: "Thanks to previous campaigns about 80% of homes nationally now have fire alarms.

"But many people are not buying them, even though it could cost as little as three pounds.

"And others are buying alarms but not using them properly. They are not fitted, or have flat batteries.

"It means that people are still dying and being injured.

"It is extremely frustrating for firefighters called to incidents where a correctly-fitted fire alarm could have prevented a tragedy."

Government figures suggest that one in five households does not have a smoke alarm.

And often people fail to check that they are working properly.

See also:

13 Mar 01 | Entertainment
EastEnders smoke scene attacked
23 Sep 00 | Scotland
Scots ignore life-saving alarms
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