More than half of Australian households are at greater fire risk because of a lack of smoke alarms or smoke alarms that have depleted batteries, a new survey has found.
The Australian Household Device Audit, which was completed by TNS in November 2004 and was commissioned by
Energizer Australia, found that almost four million (55 per cent) of Australian households are at greater risk of fire
disaster because they either do not have a smoke alarm, have no battery in their smoke alarm, or do not change their smoke alarm battery every 12 months.
The survey revealed that:
– Approximately 3,190,000 (45%) households do not have a smoke alarm
– Of the 3,670,000 households with at least one smoke alarm:
– Almost 300,000 households do not know how often they change the battery in their smoke alarm
– More than 216,000 households have no battery at all in their smoke alarm
– More than 350,000 households do not typically change the battery in their smoke alarm every 12 months
In light of these findings, Energizer has joined forces with Fire Protection Association Australia (FPA Australia) to encourage Australians to practice fire safety in the home by ensuring they have a smoke alarm and by changing the battery in their smoke alarms regularly.
To ensure a smoke alarm is performing at optimum standard, FPA Australia and Energizer recommend the following practices:
* Change the battery in the smoke alarm at least every twelve months. All battery-operated smoke alarms in Australia operate using a 9-volt battery, available at most supermarkets, variety stores, convenience stores and hardware stores. If the smoke alarm is emitting a single beep every few minutes, this means the battery is low and should be replaced immediately.
* Test the smoke alarm weekly. Simply push the test button and listen for a beep (use a broom handle if the smoke alarm is installed on a high ceiling).
* Clean the smoke alarm and the ceiling surrounding it each month with a vacuum cleaner. This will ensure any dust or other particles do not prevent the smoke alarm from operating properly.
* Only purchase a smoke alarm that carries the Australian Standard symbol.
For further information about fire safety in the home, visit www.fpaa.com.au.