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Smoke alarms a life saver and a Christmas gift idea

Published: 18th December 2007

NSW Fire Brigades (NSWFB) Commissioner Greg Mullins today warned residents that they were taking their lives in their hands this festive season if they didn’t have smoke alarms in the home.

Commissioner Mullins said a lack of smoke alarms, combined with dangerous behaviours, such as smoking in bed, leaving lit cigarettes in ashtrays or mixing smoking and alcohol, were a recipe for disaster.

“There is nothing more difficult for firefighters than to go into a home and find that someone has died or been injured or lost everything when this could have been avoided with a few simple precautions.

“Smoke alarms not only save lives but provide an early warning of a fire in the home. Contrary to what people think, smoke does not wake you up but puts you into a deeper sleep.

“If people are affected by alcohol their reactions and thought processes are affected so a smoke alarm can make all the difference – alerting the occupant and alerting neighbours who can call Triple Zero.

“At this time of year, particularly with Christmas and New Year celebrations, people often consume more alcohol than at other times of the year so it is more important than ever to be prepared.”

Commissioner Mullins urged residents to protect themselves and their families by buying and installing smoke alarms.

“If you know that a relative or friend doesn’t have a smoke alarm then consider giving them a smoke alarm – it’s a practical and inexpensive gift,” he said.

“Smoke alarms start from $20, which is a small price to pay for something that could save a life. And don’t forget the battery. It is important to test your smoke alarm battery regularly to ensure it is still working.

“We also recommend that you specifically ask for the ‘photoelectric’ type of smoke alarm as they are far more effective than the cheaper and more common ionization alarms.”