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Don't take a punt on your smoke alarm safety

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30 Mar 2016
As the siren sounds for the start of the AFL footy season, firefighters are urging Victorians to take a punt on their favourite team, not on their smoke alarms.

With the weather cooling down and residents beginning to dust off their heaters and electric blankets, it’s more important than ever to ensure your smoke alarm isn’t benched when it matters.
Firefighters are urging Victorians to check their smoke alarms aren’t past their expiry date when they change their clocks for daylight saving on Sunday.
MFB and CFA firefighters will be out in force at Federation Square tomorrow morning to remind city-goers to check, dust and change their smoke alarms and batteries.
MFB Chief Officer Peter Rau and CFA Chief Officer Joe Buffone will take part in a “Battle of the Chiefs” to test their smoke alarm skills.
MFB CO Peter Rau said maintaining your smoke alarm was more important than taking a speccie in a grand final.
“If you don’t have a working smoke alarm there could be very serious consequences,” he said. “Most people these days are savvy enough to know smoke alarm batteries should be changed each year. 
“But what many people don’t realise is that smoke alarms also have an expiry date. 
“When you change your batteries on Sunday 3 April check how old the alarm is.
“If you think your smoke alarm is more than 10 years old, we recommend you switch to a long-life lithium battery powered one.”
Last year firefighters attended 3,211 preventable house fires across Victoria resulting in $74 million damage.
The kitchen remains the number one origin of fires in the home at 41 per cent, with distraction or forgetfulness a major factor in many instances.
The number of bedroom fires in 2015 rose by 14 per cent; which is a concern for firefighters as the sense of smell is dulled dramatically when sleeping.
Electrical fires were responsible for 22 per cent of fires in the home. These are often caused by faulty or poorly maintained appliances or overloaded powerboards. 
CFA Chief Officer Joe Buffone had no doubt an addiction to modern technology played a part.
"We’re connected to our gadgets at all hours of the day and night,” Mr Buffone said.  
“But these items pose a real danger if left charging unattended, particularly on flammable materials like the bed.
“This is why it is important homes are fitted with more than one smoke alarm, especially inside bedrooms where doors can be closed.
“Don’t expect to be woken by the smell of smoke in the event of a blaze. A working smoke alarm is your best life insurance policy. But they have to be maintained.
“Only working smoke alarms save lives.”

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Facts and Features
Safety Tip

The Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authority Council (AFAC) recommends monthly testing of smoke alarms to ensure they are working correctly.

Its True

Only working Smoke Alarms save lives.

Dial 000 for emergency