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Daylight saving starts this weekend, take the time to test your smoke alarms

Published: 25th October 2007

The NSW Fire Brigades (NSWFB) is urging residents to use the start of daylight saving this weekend as a timely reminder to test smoke alarms.

NSWFB Commissioner Greg Mullins said smoke alarms are a proven life saver, but were useless if they did not work.

"Smoke alarms should be tested each month to make sure they are working properly," Commissioner Mullins said.

"It helps to combine testing your smoke alarm with a memorable date such as this weekend when everyone will be changing their clocks.

"At this time of the year we are not recommending that you change your smoke alarm battery, unless of course it needs changing. In March we run the Change Your Clock Change Your Battery campaign at the end of daylight saving and in the lead up to winter when there is an increased risk of fires occurring in the home."

Commissioner Mullins said research had shown that only 54 per cent of residents were certain that their smoke alarms were in proper working order.

"There were nearly 5,000 house fires in NSW in 2006, some with tragic outcomes. That is why it is vitally important to make sure that your smoke alarms are working."

In addition to testing smoke alarm every month and changing the battery once a year, Commissioner Mullins also recommended that smoke alarms be cleaned as part of housekeeping.

"Regular cleaning of smoke alarms by vacuuming the sensing chamber will help to ensure the device does its job when required," he said.

The NSWFB recommends that households:

  • install smoke alarms outside the sleeping areas, on each level of a house, and also install smoke alarms in bedrooms if people sleep with their doors closed;
  • get smoke alarms interconnected by a qualified electrician so that when one sounds they all sound;
  • install photoelectric, not ionisation smoke alarms; and
  • replace smoke alarms every 10 years with a new unit.

For more information about smoke alarms visit the NSWFB's website www.fire.nsw.gov.au and download the fact sheets or visit your local fire station.