Camberwell house fire tragedy a reminder to check smoke alarms

Emergency fire services have attended a house fire in the Melbourne suburb of Camberwell overnight, which claimed the life of a 25-year-old male. An investigation by the Metropolitan Fire Brigade found that there were no working smoke alarms in the house.

In a similar incident, it was a working smoke alarm in a Geelong home that saved a mother and son from injury and death in an electrical fire.

It is without question that working smoke alarms are vital in alerting household members to escape from their home in the event of a fire before the situation worsens.

A recent survey by leading fire safety brand Family First shows that a significant proportion of Australian homes may not be fitted with working photoelectric smoke alarms.

In the survey, 43% responded that they did not regularly test their smoke alarm every 30 days, while 57% of respondents did regularly test their smoke alarms regularly.

A well-rehearsed fire escape plan, working photoelectric smoke alarms and the removal of any potential fire hazards are all important steps in being prepared in the event of a fire.

Australian fire services recommend that homes be fitted with photoelectric smoke alarms. The photoelectric type is more efficient than ionisation smoke alarms in detecting slow smouldering fires which are the most common type of household fires.

A smoke alarm must only be checked by pressing the test button. Use a vacuum cleaner every four to six weeks to remove any dust build-up which can cause the smoke alarm to sound a false alarm. If the smoke alarm uses a 9V replaceable battery have it replace it every year and when the smoke alarm indicates.

Family First is continuing to research fire safety issues with a current survey on the asking whether smoke alarms are being tested every 30 days.