CFA data shows at least five recent house fires in the area started in homes not fitted with working smoke alarms.By Estelle Griepink
At least five recent house fires in the region happened in homes not fitted with working smoke alarms, according to Country Fire Authority data.
Following fires from June to August, the authority found two houses did not have smoke alarms and three had alarms installed that were not working.
The findings have prompted the Shepparton branch to renew a warning to residents to check their smoke alarms.
It is estimated at least a third of Victorian homes do not have working smoke alarms.
Station officer Paul McKendrick said not having a working smoke alarm could end in tragedy.
‘‘Unfortunately, I’ve seen fires where the smoke alarm hasn’t worked on a number of occasions — (the longer response time has meant) some small fires have grown into fires that have destroyed the whole house,’’ he said.
Mr McKendrick said some alarms could be expired, have flat batteries, or had batteries removed.
‘‘It’s quite a concern that some people remove the batteries from their smoke alarms because they’ve burned some food cooking and want to quieten it, and then they forget to replace the battery,’’ Mr McKendrick said.
He recommended residents checked smoke alarms at the same time as they changed their clocks for daylight savings.
Mr McKendrick said it was important not only to check the alarm’s batteries, but also its expiry date.
‘‘A lot of people are unaware that the life of the detector itself is 10 years from the date of manufacture,’’ he said.
‘‘There’s a tiny piece of radioactive material in them that does deplete over time, so if your smoke alarm if over 10 years old you should seriously consider replacing it.’’
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