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Minister Considers Rowen's Smoke Alarm Plan

October 14, 2005 9:44 AM

A Government Minister has pledged to look into Rochdale MP Paul Rowen's proposal to make smoke alarms compulsory in all rented property during a parliamentary debate initiated by Paul Rowen.

Paul says: "The fire safety advertisements and the Fire Service's scheme to fit smoke alarms have helped. As Jim Fitzpatrick, who answered for the Government, pointed out, Rochdale Council has also done a lot to raise standards in fire safety in the last few years.

"But as the tragic fire this June in Rochdale showed, families are still dying unnecessarily. Each year there are 4700 fires in British homes that don't have a working smoke alarm. Often it is people from the most vulnerable sections of our community who are dying for the sake of a £5 alarm. It's older people, people from ethnic communities and young families who seem to be disproportionately affected - as the two house fires in Rochdale have shown.

"The Government just isn't doing enough. I am tired of hearing that they can't do any more, that giving people basic protection is too difficult or too expensive.

"That's why I have suggested that fire alarms are tested during the annual gas check that all rented properties have to have by law. The check would only take a few seconds for an engineer who already had to be in the building, so it would cost very little in charges for the landlord or in government administration costs. In a single stroke, the millions living in rented houses or flats will double their chance of surviving a house fire.

"Happily, the Minister has promised to look into my proposals. He shouldn't let this opportunity to save lives go by."