Alarm raised on winter fire safety

Issued: 4 May 2016

Minister for Emergency Services David Elliott and Fire & Rescue NSW Commissioner Greg Mullins today urged the community to replace outdated smoke alarms to protect loved ones in the lead-up to winter.

Launching the ReAlarm campaign at NSW Parliament, Mr Elliott said smoke alarms installed 10 years ago when first made compulsory would now need replacing.

"We know that smoke alarms help save lives, but it is easy to forget about alarms once they have been installed," Mr Elliott said.

Commissioner Mullins said fires can take hold in 3 minutes, filling the home with deadly smoke, and a working photoelectric smoke alarm can make all the difference.

"Photoelectic alarms provide a faster warning to you and your family than ionisation alarms in most circumstances, especially when there is a smouldering fire. The photoelectric alarm is also less prone to false alarms," Commissioner Mullins said.

"Wherever possible, buy a photoelectric alarm with a 10-year lithium battery and install it according to the manufacturer's instructions. Better still, pay a bit extra and have an electrician connect your alarms to the home's wiring."

Fire survivor Linda Buchan said she has campaigned about the importance of fire safety since the death of her sister in a tragic fire where there were no working smoke alarms.

"I cannot over emphasise how important it is to have working, up-to-date smoke alarms. They are not expensive. They are easy to buy and install. And they could save your life or life of someone you love," Ms Buchan said.

In NSW, all dwellings where people sleep must have at least one working smoke alarm per level. FRNSW recommends having smoke alarms installed in all bedrooms for maximum protection.

Smoke alarms are also mandatory for all caravans, campervans, and other moveable dwellings where people sleep - even if the vehicle is kept off the road.