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Firefighters sound the alarm on smoke alarm maintenance

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11 Apr 2019
New data from MFB has revealed that working smoke alarms were present in less than half (49%) of the homes where a fire occurred in the Metropolitan District in 2018.

MFB’s Acting Deputy Chief Officer (A/DCO) Community Resilience Adam Dalrymple said that the results were concerning, and urged the community not to become complacent with the life-saving piece of equipment.

“Working smoke alarms provide a vital early warning and are designed to help you and your loved ones escape during a fire,” A/DCO Dalrymple said.

“MFB was called to 1,572 residential structure fires across the Metropolitan District last year – and 193 of those homes had no smoke alarms.

“This is a real concern; smoke alarms should be installed in bedrooms and all living areas, which is where most fatal fires start. Without one you are putting yourself and your family in danger.

“It’s important to test your smoke alarm by pushing the button every month to ensure it will work when you need it most.

“Regardless of the type of smoke alarm you have, all smoke alarms need to be cleaned monthly and replaced every 10 years.

“Consider installing interconnected smoke alarms, so that when any alarm activates, all smoke alarms will sound,” A/DCO Dalrymple said. 

While smoke alarm maintenance is a responsibility of the landlord, renters also have a role to play to ensure they can be alerted quickly if there is a fire.

“Tenants are responsible for testing and cleaning the smoke alarms in their rental property monthly, A/DCO Dalrymple said.

“Renters must contact their real estate agent or landlord if their smoke alarms are not working or emitting an occasional chirping sound.

“Do not become complacent; this piece of equipment can save your life.”

The statistics outlined in this release include MFB attendance at Residential Fires within the Metropolitan District for the period 01/01/18 to 31/12/18. Please note these results are approximate figures only, due to the way MFB captures data. 

 

SMOKE ALARM SAFETY TIPS

  • Smoke alarms should be installed in bedrooms and all living areas, where most fatal fires start.
  • Each month, test smoke alarms by pressing the test button.
  • Each year, vacuum all smoke alarms to clean the vents, and change batteries in any 9 volt battery-operated alarms.
  • After 10 years, replace smoke alarms regardless of the type.
  • Install a smoke alarm in all bedrooms and living areas, including hallways and stairs.
  • Get a smoke alarm powered by a 10-year lithium battery so you don’t need to change the battery every year.
  • Consider installing interconnected smoke alarms, so that when any alarm activates, all smoke alarms will sound. 

 

 

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Safety Tip

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

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Only working Smoke Alarms save lives.

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