Don't be a fool, change your smoke alarm battery this
Queensland Fire and Rescue Service together with Duracell are urging all Queensland residents to make April Fool's Day (Friday April 1) the day to change their smoke alarm batteries this year.
Each year more than 50 families across Australia lose a loved one as a direct result of a house fire, with the majority of deaths occurring between 9pm and 6am when the household is asleep. During sleep the vast majority of people do not register the smell of smoke -- in fact during the deeper cycles of sleep they don't register smells at all.
Smoke alarms are essential to wake people if a fire breaks out; they give household members an early warning, and time to evacuate safely -- but only if they work.
"When asleep our sense of smell is greatly diminished. When we enter the deeper stages of the REM sleep cycle, our brain dramatically slows in receiving input from the olfactory nerves (our sense of smell) which is why people don't wake to the smell of a burning fire," said sleep scientist Chris Bunney of Home Sleep Studies Australia.
"When asleep, we may not smell smoke but we will hear a smoke alarm. A working smoke alarm can literally mean the difference between life and death," added Bunney.
Fire authorities recommend the use of photo electric smoke alarms and say that not changing your battery and failing to maintain your smoke alarm can be just as deadly as not having one at all.
Queensland Fire and Rescue Service Inspector David Sutch says: "I see devastating house fires every year. In fact, one in fiveii Australians experience a house fire. Sadly, not everyone gets out safely. In some cases, this is due to smoke alarms not working properly as they have been disconnected or have a flat battery. Worse still, some homes don't have a smoke alarm installed at all.
"Only working smoke alarms help to save lives, so we are strongly encouraging all QLD households this April Fool's Day to not be a fool and make Friday April 1 the day to change their smoke alarm batteries.
We recommend using high quality, long-lasting 9V alkaline batteries such as Duracell to ensure year round protection.
It is especially important to replace batteries now as we move into the winter months, because the increase in usage of heaters and other electrical equipment leads to more house fires. Together with Duracell, the Fires Services message is simple; Only Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives."
The Queensland Fire and Rescue Service recommends you to: Test your smoke alarm once per month to ensure the battery and the alarm sounder are operating and clean with a vacuum cleaner annually to remove particles that will affect smoke alarm performance Replace the battery annually with a long-lasting Duracell alkaline battery Install smoke alarms in positions that will wake all occupants in the home and give them time to evacuate. Eg: outside each sleeping area with additional smoke alarms installed inside bedrooms where doors are closed at night and along evacuation routes if bedrooms are located upstairs
Smoke alarms are designed to protect you while you are sleeping. Visit www.changeyourbattery.com.au or your local fire service authority for more information on where to place smoke alarms in your home.
In 2010, Queensland Fire and Rescue Service attended nearly 2,000 household fires in QLD. There were 11 fatalities which could have been prevented.
downloadable: "Don't be a Fool Factsheet" pdf
The Change Your Smoke Alarm Battery campaign is supported by Duracell.
Queensland Fire and Rescue Service
In Your Home, Queensland Wide
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