Gisborne CFA has attended many house fires over the years that it has been around, and one of the most reassuring things that we experience is going into a building with the smoke alarms making a racket, and all the people usually in the house on the grass outside, waiting for us. One of the most frightening things that we face is knowing that there is a person inside who has become incapacitated as they didn’t know there was a fire and smoke in the house.
A smoke detector will tell you that something is wrong before it gets to the point that you are trapped and unable to call for help. It will help us to help you by making sure that we are called as early as possible, and will reassure you that help can be on the way as soon as you need us.
A flat battery in your smoke detector can bring all that good work undone.
Only working smoke alarms save lives. While you are asleep you are unlikely to smell smoke. A working smoke alarm is vital to making sure you will wake up in the event of a fire.
How to keep your smoke alarm in working order:
- Use long-lasting 9V alkaline batteries in your smoke alarm – by doing this you ensure year-round protection
- Use the brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner to dust around the smoke alarm
- Install photo-electric smoke alarms
- Test smoke alarms once a month. The alarm should produce a loud “beep beep beep beep” sound whenyou press the test button using a broom handle
- Replace all smoke alarms (both battery powered and 240v hard-wired) after ten years (the year of manufacture is displayed on the alarm)
- Purchase smoke alarms that meet Australian Standards. Look for the AS3786 marking
Waiting until the smoke alarm beeps before you change the battery is too late – this indicates that the battery is already flat, and your family is not protected. Change your smoke alarm battery every year.
Do your kids know what to do when the smoke alarm goes off?
Simple actions like getting down low and crawling under smoke save lives, and every family should have a home fire escape plan that identifies all possible escape routes.
Smoke alarms for the hearing impaired
Special smoke alarms are available for the hearing impaired. These should feature a flashing strobe light and a vibrating pad that can be placed under the pillow to activate when the alarm sounds.
Hearing impaired smoke alarms can link with standard smoke alarms to alert all household members, regardless of hearing levels. When one alarm senses smoke, all will activate.
Other models are portable units that can be taken from one residence to another.
Smoke Alarm subsidy for deaf people
Profoundly deaf people can apply for a smoke alarm subsidy to help cover the costs of visual and vibrating smoke alarms.
for further details contact the Victorian Deaf Society.