27/03/2013 - Check your Smoke Alarms

Does your smoke alarm work? Check on 1 April
 
Last year in Western Australia there were 712 structure fires that claimed five lives. These fires also caused more than $62 million damage to property.   The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) is encouraging people to save lives by doing a simple task this Easter – check they have a working smoke alarm.
 
On 1 April, April Fool’s Day and Easter Monday, Western Australians are reminded to make sure their smoke alarms work and if required change the battery or replace any units that are too old.  DFES Superintendent Metropolitan South East Stuart Wade said many house fire deaths and significant property damage could be prevented if people were alerted to the danger by a smoke alarm.
 
“Smoke alarms will not only save your life, but early detection of a fire will also give firefighters more time to get to your house and minimise the damage to your property,” Mr Wade said.   “Unfortunately firefighters are still attending house fires where the smoke alarms are simply not working and the occupants didn’t realise.
 
“Many people have mains powered smoke alarms now and it is very important that these are maintained and tested regularly.    “All smoke alarms, whether they are battery or mains powered, need to be replaced every 10 years.  “Remember, only working smoke alarms save lives.”   To help people check and maintain mains powered and battery powered smoke alarms, DFES has created a new instructional video.
 
The video is now available via the DFES website at www.dfes.wa.gov.au and at the DFES YouTube channel www.youtube.com/dfeswesternaustralia.
 
Smoke alarm safety tips:

  • Only purchase smoke alarms that carry the Australian Standards symbol.
  • Smoke alarms need to be installed in the area between the bedrooms and the remainder of the house. This may include hallways.
  • Try to avoid locating smoke alarms near cooking appliances and bathrooms. Smoke alarms are very sensitive and will activate with the smallest amount of smoke or steam.
  • Do not tamper or cover your smoke alarm. Test your smoke alarm (by pressing the ‘test’ button) once a month to ensure the battery and the alarm sounder are operating.
  • Replace batteries in battery powered alarms each year with a long-lasting 9 volt battery.
  • Some mains powered smoke alarms also have backup batteries that may need replacing every year.
  • Clean your alarm with a vacuum cleaner each year to remove particles that will affect smoke alarm performance.
  • Replace all smoke alarms every 10 years, even mains powered alarms.
  • For more information about smoke alarm maintenance visit the DFES website at www.dfes.wa.gov.au.