Changing time a time for change

CHANGE your smoke alarm batteries when you change your clocks tomorrow, Wodonga firefighters say.

Their message comes as statistics show unattended cooking as the major cause of house fires in the area.

Last year, 16 out of 46 fires in Wodonga, Towong, Indigo and Alpine areas were caused after residents left food cooking on stoves or in ovens.

It leads a list of causes of house fires in the region that was followed by electrical (10), heating (6), smoking (2) and children playing with fire (1).

Senior Wodonga firefighters said in many of these cases, a working smoke detector saved lives and prevented homes from burning down.

“As the catch-cry says, they save lives and they’re proven to save lives,” leading firefighter Brett Myers said.

Senior station officer Lyndon Bradley said assessing smoke detectors at the same time when residents turn their clocks back an hour when daylight saving ends tomorrow is a good way of remembering the crucial task.

“Change your battery, give your smoke detector a visual check and if they’re capable of it, give it a clean, give it a wipe-over,” Mr Bradley said.

There were two examples in the past month where working smoke detectors prevented a major fire in Wodonga when residents left cooking unattended.

A Birdie Street resident was intoxicated when he went to bed and left an oven on about two weeks ago.

Mr Bradley said a smoke detector alarm woke the man up and he was able to get out of the house before firefighters arrived.

“We’re unlikely to smell smoke when asleep so a working smoke alarm is needed to wake people if there’s smoke or fire,” he said.

Just last Thursday, neighbours to a Bell Court unit heard its smoke alarm going off and phoned emergency services who found nobody was at home.

- The Allan’s Flat CFA will be at Wodonga Bunnings today and tomorrow from 10am until 2pm to help customers choose smoke alarms, change batteries and give advice.

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