FIRE and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) has issued a timely reminder about smoke alarms following a family's lucky escape at Aberdeen on Saturday night.
The Aberdeen station's pumper and tanker responded to a blaze, which engulfed a home about 2.51am.
On arrival, the family had evacuated but one man suffered serious smoke inhalation, as he went back into the house with a garden hose to extinguish the fire.
Unfortunately, the premises featured no working smoke alarms.
One occupant only woke to the sounds of cracking, thinking it was their dogs playing, however the noise actually emanated from the kitchen.
An investigation is currently underway into the cause of the fire.
"If it wasn't for the lady waking up, who knows what the outcome could have been," a FRNSW spokesperson said.
"Smoke alarms are a cheap investment for your life in return.
"It's a simple way to avoid losing your home or, even worse, your loved ones.
"Kitchen fires account for 45 per cent of all residential fires and 34 per cent of injuries in NSW.
"Flames or heat sources being left unattended are the most common cause [contributing to kitchen fires].
"It can take just three minutes for a fire to take hold, but only seconds to prevent one."
The FRNSW spokesperson said the cooler months saw a 10 per cent increase in the number of home fires, with more occurring in bedrooms and lounge rooms due to heaters, electric blankets and the like.
"Don't put yourself or your family at risk," he said.
"We want to remind people to be careful when using heaters and to keep everything in the house 'a metre from the heater'."
Every month: Smoke alarms should be tested (by pressing the test button) to ensure the battery and the alarm work.
Every six months: Smoke alarms should be cleaned with a vacuum cleaner. This will remove any dust or particles that could prevent the smoke alarm from working properly.
Once a year: If your smoke alarm has a battery, you should replace it annually. A good way to remember is to change it when you change your clocks at the end of Daylight Saving. If your smoke alarm uses a lithium battery, it is inbuilt into the alarm and cannot be replaced. The entire unit needs to be replaced every 10 years.
Every 10 years: Replace your smoke alarm. Smoke alarms do not last forever and the sensitivity in all smoke alarms will reduce over time. All types of smoke alarms should be removed, replaced and disposed of at least every 10 years.
For more information, visit www.fire.nsw.gov.au
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