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Message from Acting Chief Officer Garry Cook
You may have seen media reports today about changes to how CFA is handling the installation of smoke alarms in the community.
I’d like to clarify some key facts around this and also reassure the community that public safety will not be compromised by this update of our guidelines.
Importantly, this change has no impact on CFA staff or volunteers assisting with the replacement of batteries or routine checking to existing smoke alarms.
We know many people in the community seek assistance from CFA to help install smoke alarms, and it is something we will absolutely continue to deliver to households that need it across Victoria.
Smoke alarms save lives, and crucial to their effectiveness is being installed and maintained properly. There have been a number of guidelines recently that highlight a need for proper guidance around this. They include recommendations from the Royal Commission into the Home Insulation Program and a recent Commonwealth Senate Inquiry that both make clear the need for proper controls and guidance in place to support this activity.
There are also some practical considerations around the safety of staff and volunteers undertaking this task, particularly around how to handle potential asbestos and avoid drilling into electrical wires.
We are developing guidelines which we will circulate shortly to provide clarity around how to safely and securely continue installing smoke alarms.
Should you have any calls from members of the community concerned about this, please advise them we expect to resume this next month. In the interim if they need assistance with smoke alarms - older residents, people with disabilities and their carers should get in touch with their Council who can help.