Safety: Smoke alarm battery warning

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The Independent Online
The removal of batteries from smoke alarms or failing to replace old ones is partly to blame for a rise in the number of people being killed and injured in fires.

Provisional figures reveal the number of fire deaths in the United Kingdom has risen from 747 in 1995 to 801 in 1996 - a seven per cent increase. Since 1994 the number has risen by about 15 per cent after a decline in the previous years. The report notes that although smoke alarms continue to be effective there was a sharp increase in the number of machines that failed to go off. In nearly half the cases it was due to the batteries having been removed. This could be because the owner had become fed up with the noise made during false alarms, or because they were dead.

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