RESIDENTS are being urged to enter the New Year with caution and to make sure they are regularly checking their smoke alarms.

Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) have published some tips on how to check alarms are working, increasing chances of survival should a fire break out.

Fires are eight times more likely to kill if there are no working smoke alarms in the house.

According to a 2017 study by Which? only four per cent of respondents test their alarms weekly, with two per cent never checking theirs.

This could mean that their alarms don’t work without them being aware of it.

To help prevent this, RBFRS advises testing the batteries once a week; changing the batteries once a year; gently vacuuming the alarm to remove dust twice a year and replacing the entire smoke alarm every 10 years.

Group manager Neil Carter said: “It’s so important that people test their smoke alarms regularly.

“Having a fully functioning smoke alarm can give people enough warning about a fire in the home and can mean the difference between life and death.

“Testing smoke alarms only takes a few seconds but can really make a difference. Also, take the time to check smoke alarms belonging to elderly friends and relatives who may be at a greater risk of fire and unable to test themselves.

“We run home fire safety checks for the elderly and vulnerable in Berkshire, so we can help to make sure our residents are safe from fire and other potential risks.

“You can visit our website to find out if you’re eligible.”