000 Life threatening emergencies
132 500 Help in flood & storm
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Emergency Numbers

Fire or life threatening emergencies

132 500

SES emergency assistance

13 DFES (13 3337)

Emergency information

Frequently Asked Questions

Smoke Alarm

How do I know if my smoke alarm is working properly?

  • Check your smoke alarm by pressing the test button. Use a broom handle if you cannot reach.
  • Hold down the button until you hear the loud alert tone, then release. You may need to press the button again to turn off the alarm.
  • You should test your smoke alarms monthly and change the batteries annually.

Where should smoke alarms be installed in my home?

  • The best level of protection can be gained by installing smoke alarms in each bedroom, in corridors and hallways that lead to exits and the living area.

When should I change my smoke alarm battery?

  • How often you need to change your battery will depend on what type of smoke alarm you have.
  • If the batteries in your mains powered smoke alarms are non-rechargeable they must be replaced every year.
  • If your smoke alarm is powered by a 9-volt battery, the battery should be replaced every year.
  • If your smoke alarm is powered by a long-life lithium battery, the entire smoke alarm must be replaced every 10 years.

How often should I test my smoke alarm battery?

  • You should test your smoke alarm at least every month.

How do I maintain my smoke alarm?

  • Maintain your smoke alarm by:  
    • Checking your smoke alarm for dust and cobwebs and cleaning with a vacuum cleaner at least every six months.
    • Vacuuming with a soft brush attachment around the smoke alarm vents.
    • Using a surface insect spray around the smoke alarm to prevent insects nesting inside it.
  • Never paint over or cover your smoke alarm.

What type of smoke alarm does DFES recommend?

  • DFES recommends you install photo-electric smoke alarms. Research indicates this type of alarm consistently provides sufficient time for occupants to escape from fires, provided the alarms are properly installed and maintained.
  • DFES also recommends that owners purchase smoke alarms with the following features:
    • hush (silence) function
    • test function
    • rechargeable back-up battery.
  • Smoke alarm legislation requires that homes have mains powered smoke alarms professionally installed before they can be sold or rented.

How often should smoke alarms be replaced?

  • Smoke alarms, regardless of type, must be replaced every 10 years.


What is a storm?

  • Storms develop when warm, humid air near the ground is pushed rapidly upward into an unstable atmosphere.
  • Storms can bring strong winds, hail, lightning and flooding.

Why prepare for a storm?

  • It’s important to prepare your home and family for storms because they can be extremely dangerous.
  • Damaging winds, flash floods, lightning, hail and tornadoes can cause damage to homes, cars and the environment.
  • Storms can even cause injury or loss of life.
  • Most storm damage to homes occurs from:
    • loose and broken roof materials allowing water to get through
    • fallen trees and branches
    • flooding from blocked gutters and downpipes
  • You can stay safe and reduce damage to your home by being prepared.

What should I do when a storm is forecast?

  • Secure or remove loose material and rubbish from around your home or workplace.
  • Weigh down loose objects using plastic bags filled with sand, rather than bricks that can be blown around in strong wind.
  • Ensure your emergency kit is complete.
  • Ensure your pets and animals are in a safe area.
  • Move your vehicles under cover.
  • If you are away from home, contact family or friends to ensure your home is secure.
  • Boat owners should make sure their boats are securely moored.
  • Campers should find alternative shelter.

What should I do during a storm?

  • Close your curtains and blinds and stay inside away from windows.
  • If caught outside find safe shelter away from trees, powerlines, metal objects, storm water drains, rivers and streams.
  • If boating, swimming or surfing leave the water.
  • If there is lightning, unplug electrical appliances and do not use landline telephones.
  • If there is flooding you can create your own sandbags by using plastic bags or pillow cases filled with sand.
  • If driving:
    • Slow down, turn your lights on and keep a safe distance from other drivers.
    • If you cannot see, pull over and park with your hazard lights on until the rain clears.
    • Do not drive into water of unknown depth and current.

What should I do after a storm?

  • Assess your home and property for damage.
  • Check on friends and neighbours to see if they need help.
  • Stay away from flooded drains, rivers, streams and waterways.
  • Keep away from fallen powerlines as they are dangerous and should always be treated as live.
  • Be careful of fallen trees and damaged buildings.
  • If driving slow down, keep a safe distance from other drivers and take care in areas that have been flooded.

Home Fire Safety

How can I protect my family and property from fire?

What should I do if a fire starts in my home?

Leave your home immediately, call triple zero (000) and wait for firefighters to arrive.