Australians Risk Life And Home By Removing Smoke Alarms - Video News Release

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30th March 2009, 05:02am - Views: 1236

Government Emergency Services Duracell 1 image



Australians risk life and home by removing smoke alarms

- A timely reminder that only working smoke alarms help save lives -

Broadcast quality footage available:

Confronting research released today in the Duracell National Fire Safety Report has shown that one

in five Australians take down or remove the battery of their smoke alarm when it is accidentally

triggered by cooking.

Of those that remove the smoke alarm or battery when accidentally triggered, nearly one third don’t

replace it immediately¹, while 7 per cent forget to replace the smoke alarm or battery all together. 

In response to these findings, Duracell and the Australian Fire Services want to remind everyone

that only working smoke alarms help to save lives. 

In accordance with the end of Daylight Saving, ACT, New South Wales, South Australian,

Tasmanian and Victorian residents should change both their clocks and their smoke alarm batteries

on Sunday April 5.

Northern Territory, Queensland and Western Australian residents – through the message ‘don’t be a

fool, change your smoke alarm battery’ - are encouraged to make April Fool’s Day the day to

change their smoke alarm batteries (April 1, 2009).

Nicky Buckley, mother of three and ambassador for the Duracell National Fire Safety Report, is

urging all Australians to be sensible this winter and ensure their smoke alarms are in working order.

“Smoke alarms provide a vital early warning sign should there be a fire in your home. However, they

are only able to do so if they are working. We have all experienced moments of weakness and

reacted to the irritation of burnt toast setting off a smoke alarm, but smoke alarms cannot help to

save your home or your family if they are disconnected, pulled down or the battery is flat,” said Nicky

Buckley. “Together with Duracell and the Australian fire services, I am encouraging everyone to

change their smoke alarm batteries this week and ensure their family is safer for winter.”

Frighteningly, approximately 800,000 Australians say they never replace their smoke alarm

batteries, risking their home and the lives of members of their family, particularly as we approach

winter, the peak season for residential fires.

There were over 13,000 residential fires across Australia in 2008 and Australian Fire Services want

to see this figure significantly reduced in 2009.

NSW Fire Brigades Commissioner, Greg Mullins, said the risks for household fires were higher in

winter months.

“Households will be using more electrical equipment such as heaters and dryers, which can

increase the risk of a fire starting in the home,” Commissioner Mullins said. 

“If you’re asleep at the time of the fire, the smoke, which is full of toxic gases, may numb your

senses and put you into a deeper sleep. The high-pitched sound of a smoke alarm is designed to

wake you and other family members before the smoke kills you.

“Working smoke alarms and a plan to escape are crucial in giving households an important early

warning and safe escape from home fires this winter. These simple measures often make the

difference between life and death in a fire situation.  Don't gamble with your family members’ lives;

make sure you have a working smoke alarm, test it monthly and change the battery annually.”

Government Emergency Services Duracell 2 image

Government Emergency Services Duracell 9 image

Other key findings from the Duracell National Fire Safety Report include:

9 per cent of the population are simply not concerned about replacing smoke alarm batteries

36 per cent of Australians (over one third) say they have an elderly relative, friend or

neighbour who would benefit from assistance in changing their smoke alarm battery because

the person is not able to reach it, does not have access to it or doesn’t know how to change


Nearly half of the country (46 per cent) do not have a home fire escape or evacuation plan

for their home

Australian fire services recommend all residents:

Only purchase smoke alarms that carry the Australia Standards symbol

Install smoke alarms in all bedrooms and in all paths of travel between sleeping areas and

exits to the open air, such as hallways and living areas

Interconnect all smoke alarms, so regardless of where a fire starts all smoke alarms in the

home will sound to alert occupants at the earliest possible time

Test smoke alarms monthly by pressing the test button

Replace smoke alarm batteries annually with long-lasting alkaline batteries

Avoid installing smoke alarms close to kitchens and bathrooms to minimise false alarms. A

primary reason why smoke alarms don't operate when needed is because batteries have

been removed after repeated false alarms. False alarms are often caused by steam from

bathrooms or by cooking fumes

Photo-electric smoke alarms are less prone to false alarms from cooking fumes

Smoke alarms should be supported by a home fire escape plan and remember young

children must be helped to escape to safety in the occurrence of a residential fire

Australian fire services, together with Duracell, are urging all Australians to change their smoke

alarm battery this week because only working smoke alarms help save lives.  

Visit for more information.

The findings of the Duracell National Fire Safety Report are based on responses from 1,205

Australians aged 18-64 years and was conducted online in February 2009 by Newspoll.



For further information please contact Open Haus:

Alexis Bicknell on 02 8353 5731 or 0400 161 598

Sarah Algar on 02 8353 5793 or 0409 123 905



29 per cent of those surveyed take more than one hour to replace the smoke alarm or battery

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