The Country Fire Authority (CFA) and Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) are calling for residents to install interconnected smoke alarms in every bedroom as well as in hallways and living areas in a major change to previous home fire safety advice
The new recommendation comes after data collected over the past decade revealed that most residential fire fatalities and injuries are from blazes which start in sleeping areas.
New research has also discovered that many Victorians are confused or unsure about the usage, location and maintenance of smoke alarms.
CFA Chief Officer and CEO Steve Warrington said while most Victorians know that they need to check and test their smoke alarms every month, some may not be aware of where they should be located.
“CFA data shows that most casualties and injuries during home fires are a result of fires occurring in the bedroom,” CO/CEO Warrington said.
“It is incredibly concerning seeing that research that says only 16% of people have smoke alarms in their bedrooms. It's really important that you have a smoke alarm in your bedroom, especially if you sleep with the door closed.
“Your sense of smell decreases while you sleep and a working smoke alarm in the bedroom can mean the difference between life and death.
“We know that smoke alarms can save lives and property - but only if they are working correctly.”
MFB Acting Chief Executive Officer / Chief Officer Greg Leach said smoke alarms were the first line of defence to protect yourself in the event of a fire.
“Many of the house fires we attend occur overnight, often at a time when people are asleep,” CO Leach said.
“If you don’t have a smoke alarm in your bedroom fire breaks out at the other end of the home, by the time the smoke gets into your bedroom, it may be too late.
“It is for this reason that Victoria’s firefighters recommend interconnected smoke alarms to ensure that when any alarm activates, all smoke alarms will sound.
“Having working smoke alarms throughout your home will give you a vital early warning sign and give you the best possible chance of survival.”
A new advertising campaign launched by MFB and CFA today will run online, on radio and out of home for the next three weeks to show Victorians that the silence of not having a smoke alarm in your bedroom could be deadly.
For the latest information on smoke alarms visit www.mfb.vic.gov.au or www.cfa.vic.gov.au
NEW RESEARCH KEY FINDINGS
A survey conducted in July 2019 of 2,547 Victorians aged 18–64 in revealed:
- More than half (51%) of people did not believe smoke alarms needed in be interconnected and in all bedrooms and living areas.
- Only one fifth (20%) of people tested their smoke alarms monthly.
- Less than a third (30%) of people did not believe they need to clean their smoke alarms with vacuums yearly, while less than half (46%) of people actually did so.
- Only 16% of people had smoke alarms in their bedrooms, and only 11% of people had interconnected smoke alarms.
- One in five (22%) people only have one smoke alarm in their home.
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 nine volt battery-operated alarms.
- After 10 years, replace smoke alarms regardless of the type.
- Install smoke alarms 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.
- Landlords are responsible for fitting smoke alarms in rented properties.
- Tenants are responsible for testing and cleaning the smoke alarms in their rental property monthly.
- Tenants must contact their real estate agent or landlord if their smoke alarms are not working or emitting an occasional chirping sound.
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