When did you last check your smoke alarm?

You can pick up a smoke alarm for less than $30 and it’s a no brainer as to why they’re needed. So why are they something that are often last on our minds?

Prioritise a smoke alarm check today!

If your smoke alarm is old, broken or just hasn’t been checked for a while, then make sure you check it – today.

Add a note to your diary, text your housemate/partner/parents or, if you live alone, tell a friend to remind you if you think you’ll keep forgetting.

It will also remind them to check theirs too.

That damn toaster

Yes, sometimes it seems like the smallest thing sets off your smoke alarm – but that is the point. The smallest thing can also start a fire.

It may just be a burnt piece of sourdough this time, but next time it could be a tea towel or similar – and it could be life-threatening.

The facts

  • Accidental house fires occur approximately every 26 minutes in Australia.
  • House fires kill more than 100 people each year in Australia alone.
  • Roughly two thirds of deaths caused by fires are in properties without working smoke alarms.

A new free service

Half of all homes checked by smoke alarm safety company Smoke Alarm Solutions (SAS) do not have a working smoke alarm. This means there are potentially more than 3.8 million homes in Australia without a working smoke alarm. Remember that if you have a broken smoke alarm, it’s as if you don’t have one all.

In light of these dangerous statistics, a national safety initiative has been launched that sends regular text messages or emails reminding people to check their smoke alarms.

Alarm reminders is a free service and people can register for the alerts at AlarmReminders.org.au.

The service reminds you to check your alarm, change the batteries and replace expired alarms – all of which just takes a couple of seconds, says Vicki Bailey, Smoke Alarm Specialist at AlarmReminders.org.au. 

“It takes mere seconds, but remembering to organise smoke alarm inspections is not something that busy people often think about or do. This free service will make their lives much easier and reduce the often overlooked risks associated with smoke alarm management,” says Bailey.

Fast facts

Bailey shares the following life-saving tips that tenants need to know around smoke alarms:

  • House fires are more common in the winter months when people are using fireplaces, heaters and other electrical equipment. The time to check your smoke alarm is now.
  • Most deaths occur between 9pm and 6am, and it only takes about 3 to 4 minutes for a fire to completely envelop a house. While sound can disrupt sleep, scents cannot. A sleeping person is incapable of smelling smoke and therefore cannot detect a fire[2].
  • Many people make the mistake of deactivating their smoke alarm while cooking or when it starts beeping. You must never do this, as it’s extremely common for us to forget to replace it.
  • Smoke alarms have a 10-year life span. If your alarm is more than 10 years old it needs to be replaced. If you’re not sure how old they are, replace them. Every fire authority in Australia strongly recommends photoelectric smoke alarms.
  • 58.47% of people think smoke alarms should be checked yearly. This is wrong – smoke alarms should be checked monthly.

Get a reminder set up today

In case you missed it, the link to get a free smoke alarm reminder is AlarmReminders.org.au.