Don't drown in toxic smoke

Don't drown in toxic smoke. Test your smoke alarm today

The aim of the Don't Drown in Toxic Smoke campaign is to encourage a long term behavioural change in the public so that weekly testing of their smoke alarms becomes a habit.

Two to three breaths of toxic smoke will affect your ability to breathe, a sensation similar to drowning. Just two to three breaths of toxic smoke in a house fire and you're unconscious.

Protect your family and home from fire

  • Fit a smoke alarm on each level of the property. When a fire starts, there is little time to escape so an early warning is vital. Battery operated smoke alarm units should be replaced after 10 years or consider installing a mains powered alarm.

  • Test alarms weekly - a smoke alarm can buy valuable time if it's working.

  • Plan your escape route - make sure you and your family know the quickest way out in the event of fire. Consider an alternative route in case your usual one is blocked.

  • Stay safe in the kitchen. This is the area where most house fires start. It only takes a minute to check electrical appliances are switched off. And never leave cooking unattended.

  • Ask the experts. Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service offers free Home Safety Assessments to identify potential fire risks and advises what to do to reduce or prevent them. This may even include the free installation of a smoke alarm.

If a fire does break out in the home, then Get out, Stay out and Call 999.


The 'Don't Drown in Toxic Smoke' advertising campaign dramatically shows how quickly toxic smoke can impact on the human body. A sleeping couple are shown being overcome by the drowning sensation of toxic smoke when a fire breaks out in their home at night.

Fire Kills Video - Don't Drown In Toxic Smoke (opens in new window)

Carry out your own home safety check

Complete our online home safety check and you will get a personalised fire safety plan, which will offer advice on how to prevent fires in your home.

Do the online home safety check

Book a home safety check

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service will fit free smoke alarms for people who are aged over 65 and for people who are referred to us by partner agencies because they are considered to be at a particular risk.

If you are over 65 years of age and you live in Cheshire, you can arrange for a Firefighter or a Community Safety Advocate to visit your home for a free home safety visit. During the home safety visit advice will be given on how to make your home safer, what to do in the event of a fire and what to do if you are trapped by a fire. Free smoke alarms will also be fitted (if needed) with an explanation on how to maintain them correctly.

Book a home safety visit for over 65’s

Useful links

Last updated: Wednesday 07 June 2017

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Don't drown in toxic smoke. Test your smoke alarm today