A recent survey has found that the fire brigade fought 284 fires in Kildare homes last year.
The findings, which come from insurance company Peopl Insurance, also revealed that 29 people died in Ireland as a result of a fire related incident in 2020.
It also found that 38 per cent of households haven’t checked their smoke alarm in over a year, if ever, while this figure soars to 42 per cent when it comes to carbon monoxide detectors.
The survey also reveals that while four per cent of households don’t have a smoke alarm, as many as 22 per cent don’t have a carbon monoxide detector: with some respondents saying they don’t even know what it is.
Commenting on these findings, Paul Walsh, CEO of Peopl Insurance, said: "Christmas lights, candles, late nights, and lots of cooking – all ingredients for the fun festivities most Irish households enjoy this time of year."
"However, without wanting to sound too (much) like the prophet of doom, they can be also a recipe for disaster in some homes.
Mr Walsh went on to say that the survey shows the "startling" damage that can be done to homes by accidental fire or the dangers posed by carbon monoxide from heating systems and fuel burning appliances.
"In 2020, there were over 5,000 fires attended by the fire brigade in homes around the country – with 284 of these being in County Kildare alone," he said.
"Chimney fires and hot ashes, electrical issues, cooking and heating appliances, and smoking materials were all primary causes of these accidents.
He continued: "People do not always appreciate how quickly a fire can start and how they can become disorientated with the volume of smoke, even from a small fire... if someone is asleep in a room where a fire starts, the chances of coming out of it are very slim without a working smoke alarm.
"It’s all very well to have a smoke alarm installed but if it’s not working properly, it will not protect you or your family.
"Thankfully, it’s easy to check our smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and it only takes a few short minutes to gain that peace of mind," he added.
Mr Walsh then went on to issue some advice to home-owners: "We might all be familiar with a beeping or chirping sound coming from our alarms – don’t ignore this or be tempted to remove the batteries and just leave it at that, as it might be a sign of malfunction or that the batteries need to be changed.
"Make a habit to change the batteries in your alarms routinely."
He continued: "Ideally, there should be a smoke alarm on every level or floor of your home.
When placing them, be sure to keep away from windows, doors, and ducts.
"Use the hoover to pick up any dust and debris which can collect around the alarm and interfere with the sensor; some registered gas installers will supply and fit carbon monoxide alarms.
"If fitting the alarm yourself, follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully."
Mr Walsh concluded: "When putting up your Christmas lights this year, maybe introduce a new habit of checking that the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in your home are working properly, or to install these if you haven’t already... remember, these alarms could save your life."
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