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North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service warns boaters; Don't Drown in Toxic Smoke

17th May 2011

North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service (NYFRs) warns boaters; Don’t Drown in Toxic Smoke

NYFRS and the Boat Safety Scheme have a blunt message for boat owners in the lead up to Boat Fire Safety Week 2011 (30 May- 5 June) –Don’t drown in toxic smoke – Fit a smoke alarm and test it regularly.

Just two to three breaths of toxic smoke can cause unconsciousness and over the past five years, at least six people who died in fires on their boats, could have survived if the boats had working smoke alarms fitted.

Several other boats may have not have been destroyed if owners had got an early enough warning to call the fire and rescue service and prevent the fire from spreading throughout the vessel.

Boats are often in remote locations with difficult access, which may result in firefighters taking longer to arrive at an incident and allowing a fire to totally destroy a boat and everything onboard.

Peter Hudson explains:

‘Working smoke alarms make a difference to the outcome of fires on boats.  All boats with overnight accommodation ought to have smoke alarms fitted that are suitable for boats.

‘Anyone with concerns about alarms, or fire safety in general, should contact their local fire station for a free Boat Fire Risk Check.  We are here to make sure your boat is as fire safe as possible’

Boat Fire Risk Checks, available throughout England, offer boaters the opportunity to gain invaluable help and advice from their local Fire and Rescue Service about how to identify potential problems before a fire starts and what to do if fire should break out.

The key messages are:

    Fit a suitable smoke alarm and test it routinely
    Make an escape plan
    Know your location so you can tell the operator in an emergency.
    Follow the fire prevention advice from the Boat Safety Scheme.

For boats, optical sensor alarms with hush buttons and sealed for life batteries are recommended as are choosing those with a British Standard ‘Kitemark’ or a LPCB ‘Horseshoe’ mark.  As with smoke alarms in the home, alarms should be tested routinely and should never be disconnected.

For further information about general boating fire safety, visit

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