Fire alarm saves Horsham woman from blaze

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A specialist smoke alarm fitted by West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service meant a lady escaped unhurt after a fire broke out in her home in Horsham this morning (Tuesday August 7).

A crew from Horsham Fire Station were called to the bungalow at Old Millmeads just before 9am this morning, arriving within five minutes of receiving the 999 call.

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus entered the smoke-logged bungalow and immediately assisted the owner, a 64-year old lady, out to fresh air and safety. The crews quickly extinguished the fire, which started accidentally on the cooker hob, with a hose reel and ventilated the flat using a positive pressure ventilation fan. The lady, suffering from mild smoke inhalation, was given oxygen therapy by the crew before being assessed by South East Coast Ambulance paramedics.

Fortunately, because West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service had carried out a Home Fire Safety Check at the property in October last year, the bungalow was protected by a Careline System with a specialist ‘Firelink’ smoke alarm. This meant that an operator at a 24-hour monitoring centre was automatically alerted to the fire and could place the 999 call to the Fire Service.

Incident Commander, Alistair Green, said afterwards: “Reducing the time between a fire starting in a vulnerable person’s home and a call being made to the fire service is crucial.

“While standard smoke alarms give most people ample time to react and leave their home safely, those who have mobility problems or perhaps a disability may need a little extra assistance.”

“This early alert received through the Careline system has made all the difference in this incident. We are continually working with our partner organisations to make sure that we are prioritising those people who would benefit most from our Home Fire Safety Checks so we can fit these specialist alarms where appropriate.”

To find out if you, or a relative or neighbour, may be eligible for a Home Fire Safety Check call 0800 3286487 or visit www.westsussex.gov.uk/fire