Londoner’s Inactive Smoke Alarms Resulted In The Majority Of Fatal Fires In 2017

December 10th, 2019

Smoke alarms are an absolute necessity in every home as one cannot afford late detection of fire, especially when you have elderly people and children at home. However, most Londoners do not seem to feel the need of flawlessly working fire alarms, which has resulted in ten deaths since the beginning of 2017. According to the London Fire Brigade, five out of the seven fatal fires had inactive smoke alarms. If this was not the case then the damage to life and property could be minimal, as suggested by the Fire Brigade team.

Neglect of checking such essential devices have put Londoners at risk and the data suggests the severity of it. Find below the table containing comprehensive yearly data on fires which resulted in one or more deaths in London.


Data source: London Fire Brigade

2016 was the year with the highest incidences of fire eruptions in London and the stats suggest only 41% of the safety alarms were in operable condition while the rest 59% were inactive making it difficult to detect fire. While two years ago, 74% of fatal fire cases had active alarms, which has reduced to 41% in 2016 and only 29% in 2017. The reducing number of alarms is one of the main causes for more casualties and fire fighters suggest that many of these deaths could be avoided by keeping the safety devices up-to-date.

London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton said: “While the coroner has yet to determine the cause of death we believe that many of these deaths could have been avoided if the victims had working smoke alarms. Often the most deadly fires are small fires that quietly smolder and smoke while people are asleep or in a different room. Without the early warning of a smoke alarm, people can be overcome with smoke before the fire is discovered. Please fit at least one smoke alarm on every floor of your property and regularly check them. The quicker the firefighters are alerted, the quicker we can help save lives and prevent fires from spreading. Get out, stay out and dial 999.”

He added that “It is devastating that in 2017 people are dying from fire in homes without life saving smoke alarms on every level of their property. Last year we visited over 70,000 homes of London’s most vulnerable carrying out home fire safety visits, but there is a lot more we all must do to educate people about the benefits of smoke alarms for everyone and sprinklers for the most vulnerable.”

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, said: “It is deeply concerning that Londoners are risking their lives by not having working smoke alarms in their homes. Smoke alarms provide a vital warning in case of fire and can mean the difference between life and death. I urge Londoners to take the Fire Brigade’s advice and fit alarms in your home, helping them in the fantastic work they do every day to keep us safe.”

Apart from deadly fires, there have been thousands of incidences where Fire fighters discovered an inactive fire safety alarm. The table below gives precise information about the fire incidences that were not deadly yet quite damaging.

Fire incidents in London due to Inactive Smoke alarms

Data source: London Fire Brigade

This data shows that thousands of homes were not up-to-date with a working fire alarm. Such negligence is the main cause of life and death situations. The Fire Brigade team suggests some important tips for Londoners.

Fire safety tips from the London Fire Brigade Team:

At least one safety alarm should be installed on every floor of the home. If you can afford then it would be an ideal situation to put one alarm in each room and connect them to one another, so that you can easily detect smoke from any of the rooms.

Change the alarm batteries periodically to ensure that they are not run down, resulting in severe fire incidents.

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Call for home fire safety visits, which are a free service offered by the Fire Brigade team and are all about giving detailed information about the reasons of fire and how to prevent as well as deal with them.

Care staff, family and neighbours of patients and elderly should inform fire stations in the vicinity if they detect early warnings of a possible catastrophe or report the incident so as to minimize the damage.

Essentially, every household in London and other areas of the UK should follow the tips to the hilt. Another dimension to the fire accidents is that if you do not have a working safety alarm then it may affect your home insurance payoff. In some cases, if the insurer proves the damage was due to ignorance on your part then you may not get a payout.

Therefore, it is highly important to keep an eye on smoke alarms and do everything possible to keep them up and running. This will not just prevent fire accidents, but also save you from the loss of your home insurance policy. You must talk to your insurer to get detailed information about the necessity of fire alarms and how they impact the insurance policy.

For more of such news and updates, keep checking our website We offer free home insurance comparison service along with providing comprehensive guides on the same subject. You can leverage our services without paying a single penny and switch to providers offering the cheapest home insurance premiums. For more details, do call our friendly and easy to approach team of comparison experts on 02034757476.

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