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Change your clock, check your smoke alarms

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05 Apr 2019
Firefighters are urging Victorians to check that their smoke alarms are in working order when daylight saving ends at 2am this Sunday.

The Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) and Country Fire Authority (CFA) are concerned some households may be equipped with smoke alarms that aren’t in working order, putting the occupants at risk in the event of a fire. The end of daylight savings is a great reminder to check the battery and check if the unit is more than 10 years old.

Last year, MFB firefighters were called to 1,394 house fires across Melbourne. Alarmingly, crews found 147 cases where smoke alarms were not present.

MFB Chief Officer Dan Stephens said was important for everyone to keep home fire safety, especially smoke alarms, front of mind.

“Smoke alarms that are installed and maintained correctly are your first line of defence in the event of a fire,” Mr Stephens said.

“We recommend 10-year lithium-battery smoke alarms that negate the need to change batteries every year.

“But once you install your smoke alarms, don’t just forget about them. It’s important to test them each month by pressing the test button and maintain them by vacuuming the smoke alarm unit regularly.

“If your smoke alarms aren’t working properly, you may miss a vital early warning sign that could save the lives of you and your family.”

CFA Acting Chief Officer Gavin Freeman said the fire and rescue services have been telling Victorians to check their smoke alarms and change the batteries since 1997.

“This year, we also urge you to check the location of your smoke alarms,” he said.

“Most fatal fires start in lounge rooms and bedrooms. Unfortunately, some of these tragedies may have been able to be prevented by having working smoke alarms in the right places.

“We recommend smoke alarms be fitted in all sleeping and living areas. This is your best chance of an early notification and escape, regardless of where a fire starts.”

“It’s also a good idea to install interconnected smoke alarms, so that when any smoke alarm is activated by smoke, all alarms are triggered.”

Smoke alarms are compulsory in all Victorian homes. Residential tenants are responsible for regularly cleaning and testing smoke alarms in their homes and to report any faults to the landlord or agent.

For more information on how to protect yourself and your family from house fires, visit the CFA or MFB websites or visit your local CFA Brigade.

Smoke alarm 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.


– ENDS –



MFB Media

9665 4699

CFA Media

1300 232 633


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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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