Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service is urging local people to make fire safety one of their New Year’s resolutions for 2013.

Smoke alarms can give you the few extra seconds needed to escape from a fire but they have to be tested regularly and periodically replaced.

In addition, larger properties or multi-storey homes will need more than one working alarm fitted – last year, nearly half of all household fires where the smoke alarm did not give a warning were because the unit was not close enough to detect the blaze.

To keep your smoke alarms in working order, you should:

• Test your alarm weekly by pushing the button;

• Check the packaging to ensure that the alarm is still up to date;

• Make sure there is at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home; and

• Fit smoke alarms on landings and hallways, and in rooms that have an electrical appliance in them.

Watch manager Neil Chamberlain, from the community safety department, said: “New Year is a time for resolutions, when we all try and commit to something that will improve our health or wellbeing. We know that most homes now have smoke alarms fitted, but it is vital that they are checked weekly to ensure they provide the protection needed.

“Also, most alarms only have a ten year life, so they do sometimes need replacing.”

Some households will qualify for a free home fire safety check from Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service. To find out more, call 0800 389 7849 or visit www.wiltsfire.gov.uk