Wednesday, 4 July 2007

No Smoke Without Fire

How many times have we heard the fire service preach about the importance of fitting smoke alarms? And, of course, they're right - the things save lives, even if they do tend to go off every time you pop a slice of bread in the toaster.

Even so, there is something perversely entertaining about reports of a fire station - which was not fitted with a smoke alarm - being destroyed by fire. Thankfully, nobody was hurt or killed in the blaze, which decimated Arundel Fire Station last October, but the cost of the damage ran to hundreds of thousands of pounds.

More disturbingly, the fire was discovered by an ambulance technician who was using the building on her rest break. Imagine what could have happened had she nodded off, instead of watching TV, and so been unaware that the building had caught fire.

It's not really on, is it? Lives put at risk, and tons of expensive equipment converted into crispy fried scrap - no doubt to be replaced at public expense - for want of a £5 smoke alarm. Do these people not read their own promotional material? Well, apparently, they do, because West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service has since installed smoke alarms in its buildings.

Nothing like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted, is there? I wonder if they've done it to save lives, save money or save face? Either way, it's a good idea. So good, in fact, that I may even be tempted to put the battery back in my smoke alarm - after I've made some toast.

Billy Seggars.

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