‘No smoke alarm in half of all fires’ warning

FIRE and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) is amping up its efforts to warn people about the dangers of smoke alarm complacency, with almost 50 per cent of homes that were impacted by fire last year not having a working smoke alarm.

It has recruited a number of sports stars who will feature in social media video messages encouraging households to fit a smoke alarm in their home or have their existing alarm checked, as part of its annual Winter Fire Safety Campaign.
Winter in 2022 was particularly deadly for house fires, with a record 17 deaths – more than four times the total of the previous winter – and 87 people injured. During that season, exactly half of the 959 houses that caught alight did not have a working smoke alarm.
Minister for Emergency Services, Jihad Dib, said that one working smoke alarm installed in your home would help safeguard your loved ones and provide peace of mind.
“But the alarms must be in working order to be effective and we are finding this isn’t the case a lot of the time. In their home safety visits, firefighters have been finding outdated and broken smoke alarms, with some even hanging from ceilings by wires,” he said.
FRNSW Commissioner Jeremy Fewtrell said it was particularly concerning with the number of fires occurring in the kitchen, which was 44 per cent of cases last winter.
“You’ve got to keep looking while you’re cooking – don’t get distracted and if a fire breaks out, whatever you do, don’t throw water onto it, the flames will flare up dramatically.”