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Celebs pledge to test smoke alarms

2nd March 2010

Sir Terry Wogan, James Martin and 'Corrie sisters' amongst celebs that pledge to promote fire safety

Celebrities from across the music, showbiz and sporting worlds including North Yorkshire born celebrity chef James Martin are backing the Government’s Fire Kills campaign with a “Push It Pledge”, to urge people to test their smoke alarm every week.

Coronation Street on-screen sisters, Helen Flanagan and Brooke Vincent (aka Rosie and Sophie Webster), along with a host of other famous faces - including Amir Khan, Ainsley Harriet, Jill Halfpenny, Sir Terry Wogan, Darren Campbell, James Martin, Dave Spikey, Nihal and Bobby Friction - are all making a pledge to test their smoke alarm every week.  This is a vital step in helping the nation to reduce the number of deaths and injuries caused by accidental house fires.

Eighty five per cent of people own a smoke alarm, [1] but worryingly less than a third test them every week.[2] This is despite the fact that you are more than twice as likely to die in an accidental house fire if you don’t have a working smoke alarm.[3] Just two to three breaths of toxic smoke can render you unconscious, your lungs fill up and you can’t breathe, just like drowning. It’s imperative that a smoke alarm is not only installed in your home, but that it actually works.

Helen Flanagan, who is supporting the campaign, said:

“At home, we’ve been guilty of not testing our smoke alarms as regularly as we should, but this campaign has made me realise how important it is to take just a few seconds every week to push the button and ensure our alarms are working. It’s scary how quickly a house fire can spread and in so many cases, it’s the smoke alarm that can make the difference between someone being able to escape in time, or not. We will be testing our smoke alarms every week from now on.”

Sir Terry Wogan, who suffered a house fire himself, says:

“I had a fire at home last year, and can vouch to the excellence of our local fire and rescue service, but if it hadn't been for the smoke alarm, even they might have been too late to help, and the consequences could have been fatal for me and my family. I’ll make sure that my smoke alarm is tested weekly.”

Nihal from the BBC Asian Network, says: "I pledge to be fire safe – test my smoke alarm weekly and plan an escape route for my family- should the worst happen I want to be prepared!"

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (NYFRS) says: “A smoke alarm can buy valuable time to escape from a fire, but only if it’s working properly. It’s not enough to just install smoke alarms in your home – you must test them every week. The main reason that smoke alarms fail to activate is missing or flat batteries - if the battery needs replacing, do this immediately.”

Installing a smoke alarm only takes a few minutes – NYFRS will carry out a free home fire risk check and install any detectors that may be needed.

The more alarms you have, the safer you'll be; NYFRS recommends you have one on each floor of your home to ensure the earliest detection of a fire.

If you have a TV or other large electrical appliance (such as a computer) in any of the bedrooms, you should fit a smoke alarm there too, but do not fit one in a kitchen or bathroom where smoke or steam may set them off accidentally.

Maintaining your smoke alarm

To keep your smoke alarm in good working order, you should:

  • Test it once a week, by pressing the test button until the alarm sounds
  • Change the battery once a year (unless it’s a ten-year alarm or a mains-connected alarm)
  • Replace the whole unit every ten years

Celebrities, who have pledged their support for the campaign and committed to testing their own smoke alarms every week, include:

  • Broadcaster Sir Terry Wogan
  • World Champion Boxer Amir Khan
  • TV actress Jill Halfpenny
  • Comedian and actor Dave Spikey
  • Celebrity chef Ainsley Harriott
  • Olympic Gold medallist Darren Campbell
  • BBC Asian Network presenter, and DJ Nihal
  • Journalist Nicholas Owen
  • TV actress Debra Stevenson
  • Celebrity chef James Martin
  • Asian Film Director Gurinder Chada
  • TV presenter and former star of The Apprentice Kate Walsh
  • Star of ‘How clean is your house?’ Aggie McKenzie
  • BBC Asian Network presenter Bobby Friction
  • Television presenter Lizzie Cundy
  • Comedian Barry Cryer
  • Former star of Shipwrecked Adam Child
  • Television celebrity Ingrid Tarrant
  • Boxing commentator Steve Bunce

To pledge to test your smoke alarm every week and to see which celebrities will be “Pushing the Button” visit

For fire safety advice see  or call 01609 788545

[1] The English House Condition Survey 2007
[2] Fire Kills Survey conducted via Opinion Matters on behalf of the Fire Kills campaign amongst a nationally representative sample of 2433 UK Adults
[3] Fire Statistics UK 2007, Communities and Local Government


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