The Queensland Fire and Rescue Service and Duracell are urging all Queenslanders to change their smoke alarm battery on April 1 because only working smoke alarms help save lives.
There were over 12,000 residential fires nationally in 2008 and QFRS Commissioner Lee Johnson says April 1 serves as a reminder about the importance of general fire safety and the vital role smoke alarms play in alerting people in the event of a fire.
"Smoke alarms provide a vital early warning sign should there be a fire in your home but they are only able to do so if they work," he said.
"Smoke alarms are not much use if they are disconnected, pulled down or the battery is flat," he said.
Mr Johnson said most house fires take place during the night between 9pm and 6am.
"Sadly many Queenslanders lose their lives as a result of not having working smoke alarms. People don't realise that when they are asleep they can't smell smoke.
That's why smoke alarms are essential to waking people up so they can evacuate in the event of a fire," he said.
"It's tragic when you think lives could have been saved for as little as five-dollars - the price of a long-lasting Duracell alkaline battery - to make sure your smoke alarm is operating properly."
Mr Johnson also urged people to offer help to their elderly relatives and neighbours who may not be capable of changing their smoke alarm batteries themselves.
IMPORTANT SMOKE ALARM FACTS:
* Smoke alarm batteries should be replaced with long-lasting alkaline batteries every 12 months on April 1.
* Smoke alarms are required by law and must meet Australian Standards. Since July 1, 2007 all owners of homes and units have been required to install at least one 9V battery-operated smoke alarm designed to last a year or longer. Since 1997, 240 volt mains-wired smoke alarms have been required in all new or significantly renovated homes and units.
* Since 2003 the rate of smoke alarms being installed at residential premises has increased.
* Smoke alarms should be tested monthly to see if they work by pressing the test button with a broom handle.
* Smoke alarms should be vacuumed every six months to clean the vents.
* Smoke alarms should be installed outside sleeping areas and on each level of a house.
* People who sleep with their door closed should have a smoke alarm in their room.
* Avoid locating smoke alarms near cooking appliances and bathrooms as the smallest amount of smoke or steam can activate them.
* In a rental property it is the tenant's responsibility to regularly clean and test a smoke alarm.
* People with a hearing impairment need to be alerted by vibrating pads or a strobe light in the event of a fire.
Visit www.changeyourbattery.com.au or contact your local fire brigade for more details
Don't be a fool, change your smoke alarm 1st April
In the home of every Queenslander
01 April 2009
In the home of every Queenslander, Sunshine Coast Wide
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