So you’ve got roughly 21 deaths a year to residential fires, and up to 10 or so could have been prevented if they had WORKING smoke alarms.
How much do you want to bet each of those 10 that were preventable thought they did have a working smoke alarm?
Smoke Alarm Law
Outside of saving your life, you also need to think about what the law says you need to do.
NSW legislation states that smoke alarms must be installed on every level of your home. This includes owner occupied homes, rental properties, relocatable homes, caravans and camper-vans or any other residential building where people sleep.
In addition to the minimum requirements by law, Fire and Rescue NSW encourages NSW residents to replace old, outdated smoke alarms a with new interconnected alarms in every bedroom, living space (including hallways and stairways) and even the garage in their home (yup, even the garage).
Most insurance companies won’t cover you in the event of a fire if you don’t have a working smoke alarm.
If you’re a landlord, some insurance companies won’t cover you in the event of a fire if you can’t show documented testing and inspection of your smoke alarms.
This is not a joke – make sure you double check your policy, and if you need it – get us to do some testing for you.
Keep your family safe
We’ve already covered that almost half of the deaths by fire would have been prevented if there had been a working smoke alarm in the house.
But let’s think about how many fires have occurred that there was no loss of life.
NSW Fire and Rescue respond to around 4500 fires every year.
Yes, you read that right. A whopping four and a half thousand fires every year! That works out to be more than 12 fires every day. And that’s just in NSW!
Of those 4500 fires, there are 21 deaths (and it could have been 11).
That means there were 4,479 that no one died in – either because the fires were small, or because they had enough warning to get out!
Up to date and working smoke alarms detect smoke a lot earlier than a human can, and that gives you more warning if a fire breaks out. Even a few extra seconds can be the difference between you and your family being part of the 4,479, or being part of the 21.
We’d really like it if you were part of the bigger group.
Smoke Alarm Maintenance
Smoke alarms aren’t just a set and forget thing. Fire and Rescue NSW recommends the following maintenance:
Every month: Smoke alarms should be tested (by pressing and holding the test button for 5 seconds) to ensure the battery and the alarm work.
Every six months: Smoke alarms should be cleaned with a vacuum cleaner. This will remove any dust or particles that could prevent the smoke alarm from working properly.
Once a year: If your smoke alarm has a battery, you should replace it annually. A good way to remember is to change it when you change your clocks at the end of Daylight Saving. If your smoke alarm uses a lithium battery, it is inbuilt into the alarm and cannot be replaced. The entire unit needs to be replaced every 10 years.
Every 10 years: Replace your smoke alarm. Smoke alarms do not last forever and the sensitivity in all smoke alarms will reduce over time. All types of smoke alarms should be removed, replaced and disposed of at least every 10 years.