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Preventing house fires

Across Victoria, there are approximately 3,000 house fires each year. Most could be prevented by taking the following simple precautions.

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Only working smoke alarms save lives

Fires are fast. A small fire can spread to an entire room in minutes.

Without a smoke alarm a fire is more likely to damage or destroy your property. It is also more likely to cause serious injury or death. When you are asleep you lose your sense of smell. A working smoke alarm will wake you if there is smoke.

BY law, you must have at least one working smoke alarm installed on each level inside residential properties. An extra smoke alarm in every bedroom where the door is closed when sleeping is best.

CFA and FRV recommend smoke alarms with a 10-year lithium battery. These smoke alarms should be tested monthly, dusted at least once per year and the whole unit replaced every 10 years.

If you have smoke alarms other than those with a 10-year lithium battery, change the batteries at least once every year. It is best to do this at the end of daylight savings. This includes batteries in smoke alarms connected to mains power.

Safely charging e-bikes and e-scooters

Electric micromobility devices such as e-bikes and e-scooters have the potential to become fire hazards if not properly charged. Please follow the below tips sourced from Origin Housing to reduce the risk to both people and property.

Practise safe charging

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and always unplug your charger when it has finished charging.
  • Ensure there’s a working smoke alarm where the e-bike or e-scooter is being charged.
  • Do not charge batteries overnight while you are asleep or away from home.
  • Always use the approved manufacturer’s charger. Or buy an official replacement charger from a reputable seller.
  • Do not cover chargers or battery packs when charging as this could lead to overheating.
  • Do not charge batteries or store your e-bike or e-scooter near combustible or flammable materials.
  • Do not overcharge the battery.
  • Do not overload power outlets or use inappropriate extension cords.

Store your e-bike or e-scooter safely

  • Do not store or charge your e-bike or e-scooter on escape routes or in communal areas. This could hamper people’s ability to escape in case of a fire.
  • Avoid parking them in excessively hot or cold areas
  • Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for storage and maintenance of the lithium-ion battery if it’s not going to be used for extended periods of time.

Dispose of lithium-ion batteries responsibly

  • Dropping the batteries or crashing your e-bike or e-scooter can damage the batteries, causing them to overheat. Check your battery regularly for any signs of damage and replace it immediately if found to be defective.
  • Do not dispose of damaged or end-of-life batteries in your household rubbish or recycling. When punctured or crushed, these batteries can cause fires in municipal garbage trucks and recycling facilities. Make use of any recycling service offered by the manufacturer or check with the Council for suitable recycling arrangements in your area.

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