Fire safety and smoke alarms
Last published 10 Nov 2017
Preventing household fires and making sure your smoke alarms are working
Fire safety at home
If there is a fire, dial 000
Many of the household fires that affect the lives of NSW residents every year can be prevented. The key to reducing the danger of a fire in your home is for everyone in your household to understand the risks so they can be minimised.
It’s important to be prepared before something happens and there are a few simple things you can do to help protect you and your family. Taking the time to regularly check risk areas, making sure you have working smoke alarms, and preparing a home fire escape plan, can give you a greater chance of avoiding and escaping the devastating effects of fire.
How to keep your home fire safe
Fire and Rescue NSW recommend regular and simple safety checks to make your home fire safe:
- never smoke in bed
- never leave cooking unattended
- check electric blankets for damage (including frayed cords) and replace old ones regularly
- always turn off electric blankets before getting into bed
- keep curtains, clothing, tablecloths and bedding away from heaters and candles
- if you use a clothes dryer clean the lint filter every time you use it
- only use one appliance for every powerpoint
- switch off appliances when they are not being used
- always extinguish candles or any other open flames before going to bed or leaving a room
- store matches and lighters in a secure place away from young children
- test the smoke alarms every month by pressing and holding the button until it beeps
If your alarm doesn’t beep when tested, report it to FACS Housing. If you live in community housing, contact your housing provider to report faulty smoke alarms.
Be prepared in case of a fire
Talk to your family, including your children, about what to do if there is fire
- point out where the smoke alarm is and explain what it does
- develop a home escape plan – include a meeting place and two ways to get out of each room
- discuss and practise the plan with everyone in the household and keep a copy handy
- make sure keys to all locked doors are easy to access
Hearing impaired tenants can have a strobe light connected to their smoke alarm.
How do I deal with a fire?
Your first priority is to ensure that you and your family are safe.
- do not attempt to fight a fire
- escape as quickly as possible and phone 000
- do not go back inside to save possessions
- if there is smoke, cover your nose and mouth with a cloth and keep close to the floor
- if a fire starts in your home or unit, leave immediately and close the front door firmly, use the nearest stairs to reach ground level and never use a lift if there is a fire
- if a fire starts in another unit, or in a common area, leave the building if it is safe
- if it is not safe to leave, phone 000 tell them your location, stay in your unit and close your doors and windows to keep the smoke out
- heavy sleepers, such as children and those affected by alcohol or drugs, may not hear the alarm so you might need to offer assistance
- if a family member has a hearing or mobility problem, assign someone to help them
Fire and Rescue NSW will advise when a person can re-enter a fire damaged property.
In most cases Fire and Rescue NSW will notify Family and Community Services (FACS) that a fire has occurred and we will contact you to discuss how we can help you, or you can phone us and assistance will be arranged as quickly as possible.