Smoke alarm age is no joke – don’t be a fool

Families putting their safety first by changing their smoke alarm batteries this weekend should take an extra moment to check the manufacture date on the back of them.

In most states Daylight Saving Time ends this weekend, and while changing all their clocks back one hour, everyone is reminded to change their smoke alarm batteries as we head into winter. Queenslanders, Northern Territorians and West Australians should take the April Fools’ Day event as an annual reminder to change the batteries in their smoke alarms too.

If the alarms are more than 10 years old, state fire services recommend that they be replaced, and preferably with a photoelectric type.

The MFB in Melbourne says you are four times more likely to die, or 26% more likely to suffer serious injury, as a result of a fire in your home if you do not have working smoke alarms.

It is important when changing your smoke alarm batteries this weekend to make sure the alarms are less than ten years old. Australian state governments started making smoke alarms compulsory about ten years ago, meaning there are a lot of homes around the country with smoke alarms that are expiring and now to be replaced. Smoke alarms have either a manufactured date or an expiry date on the base or fixing bracket.

Also, everyone should also check to see which type of smoke alarms they have – either ionisation or photoelectric. Photoelectric smoke alarms are generally more sensitive to larger smoke particles which are produced in greater amounts by smouldering fires, how they typically start in residential homes. This will give you extra time to evacuate or take action if safe to do so, and so greater a chance of surviving.
Australians are strongly recommended to select a smoke alarm that complies with Australian Standard AS3786, to ensure that they have a life expectancy of 10 years under normal operating conditions. All Family First smoke alarms comply with this standard.
Check that your smoke alarms are the photoelectric type and less than 10 years old