Smoke Alarm and Fire Safety for Residents

Remember...only working smoke alarms save lives

Smoke alarms provide a vital early warning signal in the event of a fire. 

The majority of fatal fires occur when people are sleeping. When you are asleep you can’t smell smoke and because smoke can put you into a deeper sleep, it is important to have early warning of a fire.

By law, every Australian home must have at least one working smoke alarm. Alarms must be installed outside all sleeping areas on every level of your home. If you sleep with the door bedroom closed you should install a smoke alarm in the bedroom.

The following simple steps will help older residents to ensure their smoke alarms are installed properly and working:

  • Test them monthly by pressing the test button with a broom handle 
  • Change the batteries annually when daylight savings ends using a long-life alkaline battery
  • If you have difficulty hearing consider installing special smoke alarms which have a flashing strobe light and a vibrating pad that can be placed under a pillow and which activates when the smoke alarm sounds
  • Vacuum smoke alarms every six months to clean the vents
  • Avoid locating smoke alarms near cooking appliances and bathrooms as the smallest amount of smoke or steam can activate them
  • Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years. You can now purchase smoke alarms with 10-year lithium batteries

If you are over 65 years of age (or 50 for ATSI), or are under 65 (or 50 for ATSI) and have a disability and need help with the purchase and installation of smoke alarms, or to change your smoke alarm battery, contact the Shire's Aged & Disability Service and ask for the Home Maintenance team, 5950 1000.

General home fire safety tips

The following simple steps will help older people to improve fire safety in their home:

  • Have an escape plan in place, practice it and make sure your family/carer knows about it - it’s particularly vital for people with reduced mobility to practice their escape plan. Where possible know two safe ways out of every room in your home.
  • When at home, leave keys in or near deadlocks so that you can quickly escape in an emergency.
  • Don't fight the fire - get out and stay out and dial Triple Zero (000) immediately. Never assume that somebody else has done so.
  • Close internal doors when leaving your home to reduce fire spread.
  • Smoking in bed is dangerous. NEVER smoke in bed.
  • Have an approved electrical safety switch installed.
  • Don't overload power points.
  • Switch off small appliances when not in use.
  • Never leave cooking unattended
  • Keep tea-towels and pot holders away from the store
  • Keep grills, fans and cooking surfaces free of grease and residue.
  • Ensure heaters are turned off before leaving the house or going to bed.
  • Keep clothing, curtains or toys one meter away from heaters and open flames.
  • Replace faulty or every old appliances immediately.
  • Have chimneys and flues cleaned every year.
  • Always use a fire screen in front of an open fire.
  • Keep candles, incense and oil burners away from anything flammable, and never leave them near open windows. Make sure to extinguish them before leaving the house or going to bed.
  • Don't leave electric blankets on for more then 30 minutes
  • Clean the lint filter on your clothes dryer after each load

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