Smoke alarms

Working smoke alarms save lives. They are designed to detect smoke and sound an alarm. Smoke alarms alert people, particularly at night when they are sleeping to give them extra time to escape the threat of fire and smoke.

Smoke alarms are battery powered so to ensure their proper function please follow these tips:

  • Never remove the batteries or uninstall the smoke alarm.
  • If the alarm starts sounding off without the presence of smoke this is an indication of low battery power, replace the batteries immediately.
  • Test your smoke alarm monthly by pressing the test button.
  • Clean, dust and care for your smoke alarm as part of your routine cleaning.
  • Report faulty or missing smoke alarms to your landlord.

For more information on preventing and surviving a house fire in your home download the Your Home Fire Safety (PDF 12mb, 20p) brochure from the CFA (Country Fire Authority) website.

Energy and appliance safety

It’s important that your home appliances and electricity sources are properly maintained and cared for. Be sure:

  • To replace damaged electrical appliances that may have frayed cords or broken plugs.
  • To turn off powerpoints and appliances when you’re not using them or if you’re leaving home.
  • Your appliances have adequate ventilation space so they don’t overheat. Do not overload powerboards either.
  • On the power plugs for your devices, check around the base of the pins (the bits you stick into the wall) to see if there is black tape. The tape provides insulation and reduces the chance of electric shock when plugging and unplugging from powerpoints. If your power plug does not have black tape around the base of the pins—replace it immediately.

Kitchen safety

  • Did you know that most home fires first start in the kitchen? To ensure you are cooking and using the kitchen space safely:
  • Do not leave your food cooking unattended. If you have to leave the kitchen, turn off the stove or hotplate.
  • Turn the handles of pots and pans inwards so they won’t be knocked over.
  • Don’t keep any tea towels, oven mitts or flammable items near the stove or cook-top.
  • Ensure you turn off all cooking appliances when you’ve finished using it.
  • If using the microwave:
    • Follow the operating manual guide and read the safety precautions.
    • Do not put an metallic items or aluminium foil into the microwave as this can cause arcing and lead to a fire.
    • If you have a fire in the microwave oven, turn off the oven immediately and unplug the power cord if safe to do so. Do not open the door of the microwave, simply wait till the fire suffocates. Never open the door until you are absolutely sure the fire is out; dial triple zero (000) and ask for Fire. For more microwave oven safety tips, visit the Fire and Rescue NSW website.

For more information about kitchen safety, visit the Metropolitan Fire Brigade website. To find out about the types of mistakes that cause fire at home visit the Safe Mistake Zone website.

Home security tips

  • Keep your front door locked, even when you’re at home.
  • Make sure money and valuables are stored away from windows and public eye sight
  • Consider leaving lights, a radio, or a TV on near the front of your house when you leave, so that it looks like someone is home.
  • Check that all appliances and cook tops are off before you leave.
  • If staying in a rental property, consider purchasing contents insurance to cover your belongings in the house, in case of theft or damage; your landlords’ house insurance won’t cover your belongings.

For more information about crime prevention and general home security visit the Victoria Police website.