Gympie QFRS Station Officer Rob Frey wants people to change their smoke alarm batteries on April 1.
Gympie QFRS Station Officer Rob Frey wants people to change their smoke alarm batteries on April 1. Renee Pilcher

Change smoke alarms this April

DON’T be a fool this April Fool’s Day – change your smoke alarm battery, that’s the message from the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service (QFRS).

Gympie QFRS Station Officer Rob Frey said, in most cases, smoke was what killed people in structural fires, not the actual fire and only working smoke alarms saved lives.

“Having the early warning of a working smoke alarm to wake you in the very early stages of a fire will go a long way to saving you and your family’s life,” he said.

“Smoke is made up of deadly gasses given off by the fuel that’s burning, such as hydrogen cyanide, carbon monoxide to name a few. These toxic gasses have an affinity to the blood more than 200 times more than oxygen, meaning you only need to breathe it in a little to be overcome and start to asphyxiate.”

Mr Frey said in Gympie most people had done a great job in making sure their homes had a smoke alarm installed.

“It’s vital now to keep them maintained by keeping them cleaned and replacing the smoke alarm battery once a year.”

Alarming statistics recently revealed from the Duracell National Fire Safety Survey showed almost three-quarters of Aussies believed they would wake up if a fire started during the night, despite evidence that the sense of smell was reduced when asleep and smoke may plunge people into an even deeper sleep.

What’s more concerning to the QFRS was that even in light of knowing their sense of smell was reduced, only 12 per cent of households surveyed tested their smoke alarms each month and more than 60 per cent were not replacing smoke alarm batteries once a year.

QFRS is urging all Queenslanders to use April 1 as a reminder to change their smoke alarm batteries as a change in seasons would also bring more risk of fire – with the use of heaters and electric blankets.

QFRS recommendations:

• 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.

• Purchase alarms with the Australia Standards symbol.

• Test monthly, by pressing the test button.

• Replace batteries annually with long-lasting alkaline batteries.

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