SA homeowners playing with fire by not using smoke alarms

SA homeowners playing with fire by not using smoke alarms

ALMOST one in five Adelaide property owners are breaking the law by not installing smoke alarms, new research shows.

SA Metropolitan Fire Service data shows firefighters had responded to 528 fires last year – 87 more than 2017.

Disturbingly, 98 of the blaze-ravaged properties were without smoke alarms, while 2 per cent had operational smoke alarms disabled.

Also, firefighters attended an average of 10.2 fire-related incidents weekly last year – almost two more fires a week than in 2017.

SAMFS station officer Phil Evans said it was concerning how many people were flouting the law as well as putting themselves and others in danger.

“Smoke alarms are life savers – they can genuinely save you or a member of your family’s life – especially at night when you can’t smell smoke if you’re asleep,” Mr Evans said.

Mr Evans said homeowners who didn’t have a smoke alarm installed were not only risking their properties, but their lives as well.

“Children don’t always understand the dangers of fires and how to react to the danger … they may not recognise danger either and the smoke alarm is there to alert everybody in the house,” he said.

“It gives them earlier warning, which means they’re ringing triple-0 quicker, we’re on scene quicker and containing the fire and preventing it from spreading to other properties.”

In South Australia, property owners are legally responsible for ensuring an appropriate smoke alarm is installed.

Failure to do so could result in a $750 fine.

By law, houses built on and after January 1, 1995 must be equipped with 240-volt hardwired mains-powered alarm.

As of February 1, 1998, if a home is sold with battery-powered smoke alarms the new owner has six months to install either 240-volt hardwired alarms, or alarms powered by non-removable and non-replaceable 10-year life lithium batteries. Landlords must ensure smoke alarms in rented buildings are maintained.

Smoke Alarm Solutions chief executive Cameron Davis said many South Australians were blasé about fire safety. “Nobody thinks it’ll happen to them, but there will be at least 44 house fires in Adelaide this month,” Mr Davis said.

Parafield Gardens mother Melissa Mastrogiacomo, who works in property management, said not having a working smoke alarm installed was irresponsible.

“They’re a necessity – like airconditioning and running water, and really, to have a smoke alarm running doesn’t cost that much,” she said.


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