Something to be alarmed about

hands holding a 9 volt battery in the left and a smoke alarm in the right

There’s been a major change to fire safety advice around smoke alarms.

It’s now law in Victoria that in any new home, or home undergoing significant renovation, that multiple smoke alarms must be interconnected. Interconnection means that the smoke alarms communicate with each other so that if one smoke alarm activates all the smoke alarms in the home go off. Smoke alarms should be installed in all bedrooms, hallways and all living areas, where most fatal fires start.

The Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) have shared some smoke alarm tips to help keep you safe:

  • Each month, test smoke alarms by pressing the test button.
  • Each year, vacuum all smoke alarms to clean the vents, and change batteries in any nine volt battery-operated alarms.
  • After 10 years, replace smoke alarms regardless of the type.
  • Install smoke alarms in all bedrooms and living areas, including hallways and stairs.
  • Get a smoke alarm powered by a 10-year lithium battery so you don’t need to change the battery every year.
  • Consider installing interconnected smoke alarms, so that when any alarm activates, all smoke alarms will sound.
  • Landlords are responsible for fitting smoke alarms in rented properties.
  • Tenants are responsible for testing and cleaning the smoke alarms in their rental property monthly.
  • Tenants must contact their real estate agent or landlord if their smoke alarms are not working or emitting an occasional chirping sound

To learn more about the new changes, visit the MFB website.

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