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Sunday, July 25, 2021

Nearly half of Canberrans lax with smoke alarms, study finds

Canberrans are being reminded about the importance of working smoke alarms inside their homes, after a survey has shown nearly half (47%) of ACT residents did not test their devices as recommended.

The comparethemarket.com.au survey also showed 48% of the 1,010 Australian representative panel reported not knowing their devices had an expiry date.

Acting Chief Officer ACT Fire and Rescue, Chris Zeitlhofer, said it was important for all residents to have working smoke alarms in their homes. 

“The ACT Emergency Services Agency and ACT Fire & Rescue (ACTF&R) urge all Canberrans to have a working smoke alarm. Not having a working smoke alarm puts you and your family at a greater risk of danger in the event of a possible home fire,” he said.

“Put simply, working smoke alarms save lives. Early detection of a fire will also give firefighters more time to get to your home and minimise damage to your property.”

In the ACT, the law states there must be a working smoke alarm on each level of residential properties and where people sleep.

Smoke alarms are required by law in Australia to be removed and replaced every 10 years. 

The comparethemarket.com.au statistics state there were over 12,000 household fires across Australia last year.

Coming into winter, Mr Zeitlhofer said there are several ways Australians can reduce their risk of housefires starting.

“Each year as the temperature drops, ACT Fire & Rescue reiterate to Canberrans to be aware of common causes of home fires, such as heaters, electric blankets and clothes dryers. Having a working smoke alarm will keep you safe should a fire occur,” he said.

“To complement a working smoke alarm, people should also have an emergency plan for their property in the event of an emergency and ensure all occupants are aware of the plan and know what to do.”

ACT Fire and Rescue encourage Canberrans to take simple steps within their home to reduce the risk of a fire starting, including;

  • Test electrical appliances and devices, including electric blankets.
  • Clean filters in ducted and reverse cycle heaters and dryers.
  • Keep clothes clear of heaters and excess bedding off electric blankets. Turn off when not being used.
  • Keep watch on common causes of fire including cooking, open flames and children.
  • Always switch off sources of heating when sleeping or leaving the house.
  • Put out sources of fire when not in use.

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