When did you install a smoke alarm in your home?
If your answer was 2006, there’s a possibility it’s faulty.
Ten years after alarms became mandatory in NSW homes, the Albury fire brigade is calling for residents to replace them.
Duty commander Stewart Alexander said the 10-year anniversary of the legislation fell at the weekend.
“Since that time, due to dust, insects and humidity, the detectors wear out and need replacing,” he said.
“We’re encouraging people to replace their older smoke alarms, particularly if they are aware they have an ionisation-type alarm.
“We recommend the photoelectric-style fire alarm with a 10-year lithium battery.”
Inspector Alexander said photoelectric alarms featured more updated technology.
“If you’re unsure about the type of alarm you’ve got, a small radioactive symbol, which is of no danger to you, is found on the back of ionisation detectors,” he said.
“Any reputable hardware store should have photoelectrics.”
CFA district 24 operations manager Mark Owens said there was no consensus on which system was better.
“The science is inconclusive, both do a very good job,” he said.
“The major difference is the photoelectric type is generally more responsive to fires that begin over a long period – so smouldering fires.
“The ionisation is more responsive to large flame.
“In regards to technology, both are acceptable – the big thing is obviously making sure they’re within date and the battery is changed every year.”
Mr Owens said the Victorian side of the Border should also follow the 10-year replacement recommendations.
“As well as smoke alarms, you also need the ability to attack the fire – that’s why we talk about fire blankets and extinguishers,” he said.
“We also ask people to get their chimneys cleaned and have heaters checked.”
Inspector Alexander said no matter what, the key message was for residents to keep their systems updated.
“I can’t stress the importance of having a smoke alarm,” he said.
“It’s a tragedy for everybody if someone is hurt or killed and they didn’t have a smoke alarm. Since the introduction of the legislation, there’s no doubt lives have been saved.”