Alarming stats a reminder to change your clock and check your smoke alarm this weekend

Member News imageChecking the smoke alarm

This weekend marks the end of daylight saving and Victorian firefighters are asking all people to test their smoke alarms after concerning new data revealed 14 people died in preventable house fires last year.

Discarded smoking materials, lighters and matches were the most frequent cause of the fires, resulting in five incidents and seven deaths.

Of the victims, five were female (36%) and nine were male (64%). There were 11 single fatality incidents and one incident that resulted in the deaths of three people.

CFA and Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV) urge Victorians to make it a priority to check your smoke alarms while turning your clocks back when daylight saving ends at 3am on Sunday 7 April.

CFA Chief Officer Jason Heffernan says it’s essential that families are conducting monthly testing of their smoke alarms to keep their loved ones safe.

“The number of fatalities in the last year is very alarming and devastating to know they could have been prevented,” CO Heffernan said.

“In the past 10 years, CFA have responded to more than 13,000 residential fires that have seen more than 330 casualties.

“The best way to keep your family safe is to install interconnected smoke alarms, so that when any alarm activates, all smoke alarms will sound, allowing you to evacuate early.

“We recommend the use of smoke alarms powered by a 10-year lithium battery to ensure their longevity.”

Fire Rescue Victoria Deputy Commissioner, Community Safety, Joshua Fischer said every fire fatality was a tragedy.

“This heartbreaking data reveals that in the past year, 14 people’s lives were tragically cut short in incidents that could have been prevented,” Deputy Commissioner Fischer said.

“The best way to protect yourself and your family from fire is by installing smoke alarms in all bedrooms, living areas, hallways and garages and to test that they are working.”

“When you sleep you lose your sense of smell, and smoke will put you into a deeper sleep, rendering you unconscious.”

“Only a working smoke alarm will wake you up and give you time to escape.”

When checking, installing, or replacing your smoke alarms, CFA and FRV recommend:

  • Only working smoke alarms save lives.
  • Choose smoke alarms powered by a 10-year lithium battery.
  • Smoke alarms should be installed in every bedroom, living area, hallway and garage
  • Smoke alarms should be installed on the ceiling at least 30cm from the wall, or installed on the wall at least 30cm from the ceiling to avoid dead air space
  • Smoke alarms should be interconnected, so that when any alarm activates, all smoke alarms will sound.
  • Smoke alarms should be tested monthly by pressing the test button on the alarm and waiting for the test alarm to sound.
  • Smoke alarms should be cleaned with a vacuum cleaner or dusted at least once a year to remove particles that will affect smoke alarm performance.
  • Replaceable batteries in a smoke alarm need to be changed yearly.
  • Smoke alarms, including those attached to mains power, should be replaced every 10 years.
  • To check your smoke alarm, press ‘test’ and wait for the beeping sound, then each month continue to test, vacuum, and dust your alarm to remove any particles that may affect its performance.

/CFA News Release. View in full here.