'Installing fire alarms helps save lives' - is the stark warning from a Barrow fire fighter as Cumbria's Fire Service launches a campaign as part of home safety week.

New research has revealed that 20 per cent of accidental fires in the UK, smoke alarms fail to activate because they are broken or not in the right place.

Shane Parkinson, Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service prevention manager, is urging people to take the issue of fire safety seriously, stating that proper fire alarms help to save lives.

The firefighter explained: “Smoke alarms do save lives, but only if they work.

“Test yours every month to make sure they are in good working order and approximately every six months clean them out so they are in the best working order possible.

"However, smoke detectors have a life span of ten years and must be changed. Inside they have a sensor that will decay over time, so it’s well worth setting a reminder on your phone’s calendar to prompt you about your monthly tests, six monthly hoover and ten-year exchange.”

Only around 15 per cent of households have carbon monoxide CO alarms, and the fire service has issued pointers to help people make their homes safe.

They are:

- Install at least one smoke alarm on each level of your home and also in the rooms you use most

- Carbon monoxide alarms should be installed in all rooms where there is a fuel burning appliance

- Test all alarms regularly to make sure they work

- Ensure all appliances are installed and maintained correctly by registered and suitably qualified tradespeople

- Alarms don’t last forever, replace them at least every 10 years

James Bywater, NFCC lead for home detection said the more alarms the better in some cases. He said: “NFCC want people to think about the risks in their homes and ensure they take action. This might mean installing more smoke alarms, particularly in the rooms used most, and carbon monoxide alarms in all rooms with fuel.”