Alarm over smoke detectors

By Tate Papworth

The MFB is urging Brimbank residents to ensure their homes are equipped with working smoke detectors following the release of alarming new data.

The MFB has revealed that just 36 per cent of 107 Brimbank homes where a fire occurred in 2018 had working smoke alarms.

Twenty-four of the homes didn’t have a smoke alarm installed at all.

MFB acting deputy chief officer community resilience Adam Dalrymple warned the community against complacency when it came to the life-saving equipment.

“Working smoke alarms provide a vital early warning and are designed to help you and your loved ones escape during a fire,” he said.

“MFB was called to 1572 residential structure fires across the metropolitan district last year – and 193 homes had no smoke alarms.

“This is a real concern. Smoke alarms should be installed in bedrooms and all living areas, which is where most fatal fires start. Without one you are putting yourself and your family in danger.”

St Albans was Brimbank’s worst offending suburb.

MFB crews were called to 29 fires in the suburb last year and on eight occasions no smoke alarm was present. Smoke alarms failed to operate on a further two occasions.

Sunshine West was also a high-offending suburb.

Of the 13 houses MFB crews were called to, four were not fitted with a smoke alarm.

“It’s important to test your smoke alarm by pushing the button every month to ensure it will work when you need it most,”
Mr Dalrymple said. “Regardless of the type of smoke alarm you have, all smoke alarms need to be cleaned monthly and replaced every 10 years.”

While smoke alarm maintenance is a responsibility of the landlord Mr Dalrymple said renters also had a role to play.

“Tenants are responsible for testing and cleaning the smoke alarms in their rental property monthly,” he said. “Renters must contact their real estate agent or landlord if their smoke alarms are not working or emitting an occasional chirping sound.”