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Adelaide fire tragedy a reminder for home evacuation plans

AN investigation is underway into the cause of an early morning house fire in Netherby, south of Adelaide, where a 12-year-old boy died and his father is in a critical condition in hospital.

In response to this tragedy, Family First urges all Australian home-owners to prepare their line of defence against fire.

Working photoelectric smoke alarms detect common household smouldering fires which could go on for hours before bursting into flames.

Installing smoke alarms in every bedroom, kitchen and living area further increases the opportunity for residents to be alerted when smoke is detected.

However, like any form of electrical equipment, home occupants need maintain their smoke alarms regularly.

For example, smoke alarms should be tested weekly to ensure the circuitry and horn are working.

If fitted, batteries should be replaced at least once a year to ensure the smoke alarms are fully powered and to prevent low-battery chirps that typically happen while you’re trying to sleep. Removing the battery removes your protection. If you have a problem with your smoke alarm, check the manual or call for support.

Vacuuming around the perimeter of the smoke alarm also ensures that the photoelectric chamber and circuitry are not interfered with by dust. This should be performed once a month.

All homes need to have an evacuation plan. A fire drill should be conducted to educate and test everyone of fire exits and the most efficient way of exiting the home to a safe evacuation point.

Remember that house fires can happen at night, and smoke reduces visibility. A well-rehearsed plan will keep you prepared to take action with little thought, essential when there is no time to spare.

Finally, these other points are essential for good fire safety:

  • Keep corridors and exits clear so your evacuation paths and exits won’t be obstructed.
  • With winter ending, check heating appliances before putting them away and dispose of them if there is any damage.
  • Dust and lint is flammable and easily ignited, so vacuum through forgotten areas such as power boards, near heating elements, and clean the lint filter on the clothes dryer.
  • Charge devices such as smartphones on solid surfaces, not on soft flammable materials like bedding, and definitely do not leave a charging mobile phone under a pillow.