THE fire service is shouting from the rooftops about one of its lesser utilised services.

Over the past 20 years, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service has fitted thousands of smoke detectors, but now the service is highlighting its Safe and Well visits.

For around five years the organisation has been offering these checks to homeowners across Hampshire.

During the Safe and Well visits, smoke alarms are checked with new, free ones installed — if needed — and customised information packs are handed out to meet the needs of the occupier of the home.

Andover Fire Station crew manager Rob Cable said: “It is about prevention. Most fires are preventable if safety precautions are in place.”

During the visits, crews talk about a variety of precautions and often find most people lack an escape plan from their house in case of a fire.

Crew manager Cable said: “When we arrive [at a fire] we like to be told ‘everyone is here, this is where we are’, so we know we are just dealing with a fire rather than a person.

“Most people hadn’t thought of having an escape plan — they are grateful when we advise them.”

And crews find on some occasions that smoke detectors are installed in the wrong place or have not been checked in a number of years.

“Sometimes people have put them in the wrong place, with elderly people they are sometimes on the walls so they can test them easily. They [the fire alarms] should be at the top and bottom of the stairs and on the ceiling.

“They can act as an early alarm for a lot of people.”

Crew manager Cable and the team hope to be able to reach out to those who might be in need of a check, but do not know where to turn.

“Currently we seek referrals from social services, also elderly, mentally or psychically impaired, people with drug and alcohol dependencies.”

The service also looks after families with children under five, but the visits are available to anyone who would like one.

But it is not just fire checks that the team carry out.

They are also obliged to check on people’s welfare generally and if any concerns are present, they will get in contact with social services.

“If we are there and we think this old lady is not looking after herself, we can then suggest to social services that she might need extra help.We try and do as much as possible.”

He added: “If we go to a fire we make sure we have reinstalled smoke detectors and call on the neighbours to make sure they are aware of the visits which are free of charge and if they want us to come out.”

To book a free Safe and Well visit from Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, go to or call 02380 626751.