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May 25, 2022

Houses without smoke detectors very alarming

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Eve Jeffery

Fire & Rescue NSW is always busy and the nation-wide fires in recent years have highlighted the importance and value of our firefighters.

The Byron Bay Fire Station has seen a very busy start to the careers of their new recruits.

Within days of returning from her initial training, Briony Fisher, attended two house fires in Byron Bay. Deputy Captain Matt Crisp said that firefighters were able to extinguish the fires relatively quickly but were shocked that neither home had a working smoke alarm.

‘It was just pure luck that one resident woke up in time to escape,’ he said. ‘She escaped with minor smoke inhalation and shock.’

Deputy Captain Crisp says that smoke inhalation is the big killer in house fires. ‘When you are asleep you will not smell the smoke, and a fire can become unsurvivable in just three minutes. Working smoke alarms and an escape plan greatly increase your chances of getting out safely.’

The smoke alarm message loud and clear on the side of the local fire trucks.

Smoke alarms essential

Deputy Captain Crisp says that it is alarming the number of homes that disconnect their smoke detectors because they are sometimes activated by cooking fumes.

‘This action deprives the residents of their best chance of escape in the event of a house fire. Advancements in smoke detector technology and correct placement can eliminate most “false” alarms.’

It is the law to have a working smoke alarm installed in each hallway associated with bedrooms and at least one on every level of your home. This includes owner-occupied homes, rental properties, short term rentals (Airbnb), relocatable homes, caravans and campervans or any room where people sleep.

Deputy Captain Crisp says that 60 per cent of all house fires occur in winter, so now is a great time to check your smoke alarms and practise your escape plan.

Fire & Rescue New South Wales has a free Safety Visit Program to assist people with Home Fire Safety. Visit www.fire.nsw.gov.au or call FRNSW zone office 6686 2959.

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