PARENTS who pluck the batteries from smoke alarms to power remote controls are endangering their children’s lives, according to a county fire chief.

Oxfordshire’s chief fire officer Dave Etheridge emphasised the need for all homes to have a working smoke alarm, during a discussion about the fire service’s five-year “risk management plan”.

His comments came after councillors were yesterday given a report which shows that almost four in 10 of the 346 homes visited by firefighters in 2011/12 had a working smoke alarm.

Mr Etheridge said the service did what it could, offering free home visits to test fire safety, and free smoke alarms with batteries which could not be used in other devices.

He said: “The key thing is personal responsibility, we can only do so much.

“I think people need to make a decision as to whether turning over the channel on their TV is more important than keeping their kids safe at night.”

The “risk management plan” identifies fire-related risks which the service could face over the next five years, and ways to mitigate against them.