Check your loved ones have smoke alarms, urges West Sussex family whose house caught fire

A West Sussex family whose house caught fire have backed a campaign urging people to check their loved ones have smoke alarms.

Thursday, 1st April 2021, 3:39 pm
Updated Thursday, 1st April 2021, 3:42 pm

The ‘keep calm and get an alarm’ campaign has been launched by West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service and encourages people to check their relatives, especially older, have an alarm on each floor of their home.

It comes after the fire service responded to 60 fires in 2020, where there was no working smoke alarm fitted.

Erica and Matt Foggett and their family were asleep at their home in Worthing when they were awoken by their smoke alarms sounding shortly after 2am on March 6.

Erica and Matt Foggett's home in Worthing following the fire. Picture: West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service
Erica and Matt Foggett's home in Worthing following the fire. Picture: West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service

“We were fast asleep when the alarm went off, but immediately we knew something was+l fire there coming out of the electrics in the wall.

“It was just outside the children’s bedrooms. Fortunately the alarms detected the smoke before any sizable flames had grown.”

She said they were relieved such a small fire would set the smoke alarms off – and this early warning gave them the extra time they needed to get out safely.

“Thankfully we were able to quickly get the children outside before the fire grew enough to block our exit and dial 999 for the fire and rescue service,” added Erica.

Erica and Matt Foggett's home in Worthing following the fire. Picture: West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service

“If the smoke alarm had not gone off, I doubt we would be here now. There’s no way we would have made it down from the third floor and the children out of their bedrooms if the fire had spread further.”

Erica said firefighters told them they were able to save far more of their property because they had called them so quickly, thanks to the smoke alarms going off.

She added: “Almost a month on, we still have a long journey ahead of us to repair all the damage caused by the fire. But we dread to think how much worse it could have been.”

Nathan Cross, prevention manager for the fire service, said: “We would always recommend that people have smoke alarms fitted on each level of their property and that they test them at least once a week.

Erica and Matt Foggett's home in Worthing following the fire. Picture: West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service

“We have launched our #KeepCalmGetAnAlarm campaign to remind all residents of the importance of having working smoke alarms, and we would urge people to check on vulnerable family members to ensure that they too have working smoke alarms fitted.

“Linked detectors can be purchased for those who are hard of hearing or have limited mobility.

“Here in the fire service we also offer free Safe & Well Visits for vulnerable members of the community to ensure the risk of fire in the home is kept to a minimum.”

For more information, visit: www.westsussex.gov.uk/smokealarms.