Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to checking your smoke alarm, as more than half of people in the region don't know how to test their early warning system

More than half of people in the north west don’t know how to check a smoke alarm, according to shocking new figures.

By Phil Cunnington
Tuesday, 19th February 2019, 12:07 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th February 2019, 12:12 pm
New research has shown homewoners in the north west do not know how to check a smoke alarm still works
New research has shown homewoners in the north west do not know how to check a smoke alarm still works

The research shows 52 per cent of those in the North West do not know how to test their smoke alarm for functionality, leaving them open to potential disaster. Almost half (47 per cent) do not unplug electric appliances that are not designed to be left on and some 17 per cent don’t check that the front door is locked before turning in.

A staggering 56 per cent of Brits admit to not checking the hob is turned off before going to bed; risking appliance damage, or worse.

The research was carried out by the Consumer Protection Alliance, a group made up of Dispute Resolution Ombudsman, Gas Safe Register, NICEIC and Which? Trusted Traders, with the aim of promoting consumer safety and protection in the UK

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New research has shown homewoners in the north west do not know how to check a smoke alarm still works

Cheryl Cox, Public Affairs Manager at NICEIC and member of the Consumer Protection Alliance, said: “It’s worrying that the nation is turning their attention away from safety in the home, and that some wouldn’t even consider using the professionals in times of need.

“Gas and electrical safety is important year-round, but especially during the winter months when an extra strain is placed on our appliances in the home. We tend to forget that our appliances such as the boiler, gas hob and hot water cylinder are used so frequently that they need extra maintenance. Everyone needs to be aware of the dangers and we believe that safety is paramount, and education is key.”

Worryingly, the survey of 2,000 British adults also reveals a lack of knowledge and understanding when it comes to home safety. For those in the North West:

• 63 per cent have ended up paying a professional to fix a botched job that was carried out by a ‘cowboy’ tradesman, which has resulted in spending up to an extra £500 on average

• 30 per cent were unaware that a boiler requires an annual safety check

• 14 per cent believe they could carry out a check on gas appliances themselves, with 64 per cent taking instructions and guidance from online resources such as Google, YouTube or social media

• 25 per cent don’t know how, or simply wouldn’t bother, to check if their chosen tradesperson is registered in their profession

In response, the Consumer Protection Alliance has launched a national consumer safety campaign warning homeowners and landlords about the dangers lurking in the home. Brits are advised to think safety first with these five top tips to ensuring your home is safe:

• Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors where appropriate and test them on a regular basis.

• Arrange for an annual safety check on the following gas appliances: Boiler; Gas fires; Gas cooking hob; Hot water cylinder.

• Carry out your own annual visual checks on plugs, sockets, cables, leads and light fittings and seek help from a registered electrician if you find any issues.

• Arrange for an inspection and test of electrical installations every five years, regardless of whether the property is owned or rented.

l When having a gas or electrical safety check carried out, always hire a registered, professional tradesperson such as those on the Gas Safe Register or those registered with NICEIC.

Each year, 350,000 serious injuries are caused by electrical faults. There are as many as 250,000 illegal gas jobs carried out each year and 40 people die from carbon monoxide poisoning annually.

For further information about the Consumer Protection Alliance, please visit http://consumerprotectionalliance.org/.