Sunday, 16 May marked the start of the ‘Silence is Deadly’ smoke alarm campaign, an important message from the Country Fire Authority (CFA) and Fire Recue Victoria (FRV), urging all Victorians to install interconnected smoke alarms in their homes.
On average, more than 60 Australians tragically die in a house fire every year and the risk of dying in a house fire increases by up to 60 per cent if you don’t have a working smoke alarm.
Most fatal house fires start at night, often in the bedroom or living areas, and the smell of smoke alone won’t always wake you up.
Interconnected smoke alarms will activate all units in every room if smoke is detected in one area of the house. This gives everyone the best chance of getting out safely.
Brendan Pratt and Amanda Bews know all too well how important it is to have working smoke alarms in your home after a fire broke out in the basement of their Wandin North home at 1am on Easter Monday.
Smoke alarms located in the hallways of the ground and upstairs levels sounded when the fire travelled up through the house and posed an immediate threat to the family.
Amanda and two of their children quickly evacuated, while Brendan ran to alert their youngest child, who was fast asleep. By this point, the room was engulfed in smoke.
While their smoke alarms met the legal requirements, the family’s experience is why firefighters are calling on the community to install interconnected alarms that provide vital early warning during a fire.
The family have confirmed that when they rebuild, they will install interconnected smoke alarms in all bedrooms and living areas to ensure that the alert is heard throughout the house.
If you don’t currently have interconnected smoke alarms in your home, install them today. Also, be sure to choose smoke alarms with 10-year, long life lithium batteries. Working smoke alarms can save your life.
Quotes attributable to Acting Emergency Management Commissioner Chris Stephenson
“House fires can spread incredibly fast and you will not always be able to smell the smoke until it is too late.”
“This winter, make it a priority to install interconnected smoke alarms in your home, as it can save your life.”