25 September 2023

Smoke alarm blows lifesaving whistle

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ACT Fire and Rescue has issued a public reminder of the value of working smoke detectors following a near-fatal incident last week.

Commander of ACT Fire and Rescue South, Danny Brighenti said a potentially catastrophic incident was avoided thanks to a working smoke alarm and one neighbour’s quick thinking.

“At approximately 4pm on Thursday afternoon, ACT Fire and Rescue responded to an Emergency Triple Zero call from a neighbour reporting that a smoke alarm had activated in the house next door,” Commander Brighenti said.

“Firefighters arrived on scene to find heavy smoke coming from the house. Looking through the windows, the crew identified a person unconscious on the floor and immediately forced entry.”

He said paramedics assessed and treated the patient at the scene before transporting them to the Canberra Hospital in a stable condition.

“We quickly contained the fire to the point of origin in the kitchen, and had it extinguished within minutes.” Commander Brighenti said.

“If the smoke alarm had not activated there would have been a significant delay in alerting emergency services, dramatically increasing the risk of catastrophic consequences.”

He said the incident was a timely reminder that working smoke alarms saved lives.

The Agency says photoelectric smoke alarms are considered to be most effective in detecting smouldering fires and recommends that as ionisation smoke alarms near their expiry dates (usually 10 years) or become faulty, residents should consider replacing them with a photoelectric alarm.

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