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Renters targeted by new Victorian fire safety partnership

By Staff Reporter
23 April 2024 | 9 minute read
smoke detector property management services

Five hundred rural and regional at-risk residents across Victoria are set to benefit from free smoke alarms.

Country Fire Authority (CFA) and Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV) are targeting renters and elderly Victorians with the smoke alarm program, which also want to increase the understanding and awareness of home fire hazards, as well as reduce the number of preventable fire fatalities.

A statement from the RACV acknowledged that smoke alarms “play a critical role in early fire detection and evacuation”.

“Yet, statistics indicate many homes either do not have enough smoke alarms or have them installed in the wrong areas.”

The CFA flagged that a number of house fires have started in bedrooms and sleeping areas, which stresses the importance of “comprehensive” smoke alarm coverage in homes.

It is “vital” everyone has a working smoke alarm in their home, said CFA chief officer Jason Heffernan.

“We’ve seen the devastating results of house fires where there wasn’t a working smoke alarm, so this is an important program to ensure we’re helping our communities, especially those more vulnerable such as renters and elderly Victorians,” the chief officer commented.

RACV head of policy, James Williams, said the smoke alarm installation program will also educate Victorians on preventing fire risks.

“Through our work with CFA, we aim to address the gaps we know exist in smoke alarm coverage throughout Victorian homes.”

“We believe that every Victorian deserves to feel safe and secure in their own home.”

The new partnership follows the release of the results of an RACV poll, in which less than six in 10 Victorians (58 per cent) said they test their smoke alarms monthly and replace them yearly.

One in four respondents said they have upgraded to an interconnected smoke alarm system, while 18 per cent said they don’t understand how their smoke alarms work.

Williams said for anyone “unsure how your smoke alarm works, or unable to install or change an alarm yourself, seeking a qualified professional to do the job is the best thing you can do”.

The RACV shared a number of warning signs of fault and age with a smoke alarm. They include:

  • Smoke alarm unit turning a yellow colour.
  • Continuous “chirp” sound.
  • Smoke alarm activating for no reason.

As well as ensuring that smoke alarms are working soundly, the CFA recommends all smoke alarms be powered by a 10-year lithium battery. They also advise that they be interconnected and installed in every bedroom, living area and hallway on any property.

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