A simple calendar reminder could help you to protect your home and loved ones.

Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service is asking local people to ensure that they have smoke alarms fitted, and to make a note to test them every month. It’s been statistically proven that fire deaths are significantly less likely to happen in homes fitted with working smoke detectors.

Watch manager Neil Chamberlain, from the community safety department, said: “Working smoke detectors are vital. As a fire and rescue service, we provide alarms where needed, but they must be checked on a regular basis. A simple calendar reminder on the first of every month will help to establish a routine, and it could mean the difference between life and death.”

He added: “We would also like people who visit elderly relatives or friends to make this basic check part of that routine as well – pop in, have a cuppa and push the button for them if they can’t easily reach it themselves.”

The Service offers free home fire safety checks for households that meet certain criteria – and everyone qualifies for an information pack, which will help you make your home as safe as possible.

These checks are also extended to people living in boats on the Kennet and Avon canal.

If your home is thatched, it has the potential to be at greater risk of fire, so please contact us for a thatch information pack if you haven’t already received one.

Here are ten top tips for being safer at home: 1. Take extra care if you leave the kitchen whilst cooking – take pans off the heat or turn them down to reduce risk.

2. Always double check that the cooker is switched off when you’ve finished cooking.

3. Keep the oven, hob and grill clean and in good working order – many cooker fires start when a build-up of fat and grease ignites.

4. Extension leads and adaptors have a limit to how many amps they can take, so be careful not to overload them. Where you can, keep one plug to each socket.

5. Unplug appliances when you’re not using them or when you go to bed.

6. Keep portable heaters away from curtains and furniture, and never use them for drying clothes.

7. If you smoke, always stub out cigarettes properly and dispose of them carefully. Place ashtrays on solid surfaces, where they can’t be tipped over.

8. If you use candles, make sure they’re secured in a proper holder and are away from materials that may catch fire – such as curtains.

9. Make sure you know how to get out of your home in the event of a fire. Are the exits clear? Do you know where door/window keys are kept? Most importantly, does everyone in the house know?

10. If you do have a fire in your home – get out, stay out and ring 999.

For free home fire safety advice from Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, visit www.wiltsfire.gov.uk or call 0800 389 7849.