Victoria’s fire and rescue services are calling for action after six Victorians lost their lives in house fires in the three months from April through to June this year.
The tragic news comes as residents without working smoke alarms in Ringwood East, Bundoora, Cheltenham, Cranbourne East narrowly escaped after their houses caught fire during July.
Fire Rescue Victoria’s Deputy Commissioner of Fire Safety, Michelle Young said it was discouraging to discover that many people are still not installing and maintaining their smoke alarms.
“If you don’t have working smoke alarms throughout your home you’re putting yourself and your loved ones in danger,” said Deputy Commissioner Young.
“Sadly this year we have seen fires that have resulted in death, caused serious injuries and damage to homes and property.
“It takes as little as three minutes for flames and smoke to engulf a whole room – and in an emergency every second counts.
“Install smoke alarms in all bedrooms, hallways and living areas and make sure they are interconnected so that when one alarm activates, all alarms will sound.
“Don’t think it can’t happen to you – having a fire escape plan in place and working smoke alarms is what will save your life,” said Deputy Commissioner Young.
CFA Acting Chief Officer Gary Cook said Victorians should never downplay the importance of a working smoke alarm.
“In July alone CFA saw residents in Olinda, Neerim East and Gonn Crossing escape from blazes – each of these homes had a working smoke alarm that alerted residents and allowed them to get out in time.
“From April through to June we saw a 15 per cent increase in the number of house fires we’ve attended in CFA districts.
“Most fires can be prevented. Victorians can take simple steps to ensure firefighters don’t need to pay them a visit.
“Never leave cooking unattended, don’t overload power boards and please turn off all heat sources including heaters and open flames, candles, fireplaces and cigarettes before going to bed.
“Preparedness is the key. Having working smoke alarms and a well-practised home fire escape plan can mean the difference between life and death,” said CO Cook.
For the latest information on smoke alarms and home fire safety visit frv.vic.gov.au/smoke-alarms or cfa.vic.gov.au