We are being reminded to change our smoke alarm batteries as we turn back our clocks at the end of daylight saving this weekend.
Only working smoke alarms save lives and the Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS) and Country Fire Service (CFS) are urging the community to ensure their smoke alarms are reliable.
Here's what we need to do:
• Replaceable smoke alarm batteries should be changed every year at the end of daylight saving, and whenever a ‘battery-low’ warning beep is heard. Hard-wired smoke alarms may also have replaceable backup batteries.
• Check the age of your smoke alarm. Smoke alarms should be replaced every ten years as they become less reliable beyond this age. The date is printed on the smoke alarm.
A review of South Australian house fire statistics revealed that 35 % of incidents across South Australia involved homes where smoke alarms had been disabled or batteries were flat. In some worrying cases, smoke alarms may have been removed or not fitted at all.
South Australia’s Fire Services say these figures send a strong message to all households of the importance of replacing smoke alarm batteries annually and ensuring you have working smoke alarms.
MFS Station Officer, Vinny Schar said, “While some in our community are aware, most people don’t realise that when you sleep your sense of smell is significantly diminished.
“Smoke alarms give people early warning of a house fire, providing vital minutes to escape and call the fire service, and giving firefighters a greater chance to save homes and belongings.
“All smoke alarms, regardless of whether they are battery powered or hard-wired, should be replaced every ten years. The smoke alarm age can be checked by looking on the smoke alarm itself as the Australian Standard (AS3786) requires that there is a date stamp printed on them,” said MFS Station Officer Schar.
CFS State Duty Commander, Yvette Dowling said, “It only takes a few moments to change the batteries and check the age of the smoke alarm to ensure that the first step in your home fire escape plan is taken care of.
“Only working smoke alarms save lives. Every second counts when you or your family are trying to escape a house fire, so the more you prepare the more likely you are to survive,” said CFS State Duty Commander Dowling.
The MFS and CFS urge householders to combine the above smoke alarm safety tips with a practised Home Fire Escape Plan.