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Media Release

Only working smoke alarms save lives
Wednesday 1 April 2015 – 10:15 AM
The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) is urging people to keep their smoke alarms maintained and test them monthly to make sure they are working.
Research shows that less than one in 10 Australians regularly test and clean their smoke alarms and only 8 per cent know they need to be replaced every 10 years.
DFES Hazard Planning and Response Acting Assistant Commissioner Paul Ryan said it is not enough to have smoke alarms installed in your home.
“You need to test your smoke alarms monthly to make sure they are working and clean them regularly to remove dust or cobwebs that may affect their performance,” Acting Assistant Commissioner Ryan said.
“Some types of smoke alarm need new batteries every year. It is important to know which type of alarm you have and what maintenance it needs.” 
“If you need to change your smoke alarm battery each year, you should do it on a specific date that is easy to remember, such as April 1st,”
In 2014 there were 849 house fires that caused four deaths, a number of serious injuries and more than $45 million in damage.
Acting Assistant Commissioner Ryan said smoke alarms are a proven early warning system that may help you and your family survive.
“Working smoke alarms can give you enough warning to get out of a burning building in time, and early detection may give firefighters a better chance to save your home.”
“However, smoke alarms are not a fire prevention tool. You still need to be aware of the risk of home fire, and practise your family’s home fire evacuation plan regularly,” Acting Assistant Commissioner Ryan said. 
For more information on smoke alarms and home fire safety visit the DFES website at www.dfes.wa.gov.au 
Media Contact: DFES Media and Corporate Communications 9225 5955
Extra Information:
  • DFES recommends mains powered photoelectric smoke alarms.
  • All smoke alarms, including mains powered alarms, must be replaced every 10 years.
  • It is important to know which type of smoke alarm you have and whether you need to replace its battery.
    • If your smoke alarm is powered by a 9V alkaline battery you need to replace the battery every year.
    • Most mains powered smoke alarms have a battery back-up which may or may not need replacement depending on the type. You should refer to the manufacturer’s instructions.
    • If your smoke alarm is powered by a 10 year non-removable lithium battery, you won’t need to replace the battery.
  • Test your smoke alarm monthly by holding down the test button until you hear an alert sound.
  • Clean your smoke alarms every six months using a vacuum cleaner to remove any build-up of dust, cobwebs or insects.


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