Smoke Detector saves building

A smoke detector, only recently repaired by Plimmerton volunteer firefighters, saved Plimmerton's Aspell House Treatment Centre from severe damage on Sunday night.

Station Officer Dave Anderson says that the 8:20pm fire, which began on a mattress in an unoccupied bedroom, was set to become major when a smoke detector alerted the ten residents and the night supervisor, who extinguished the fire and evacuated the building. "She did a terriffic job, but I have absolutely no doubt that we would have had a major incident, perhaps a tragedy, on our hands if that smoke detector hadn't gone off when it did" he says.

Last year, volunteer firefighters on a fire safety promotion visit found that four of the building's five smoke detectors were either not working or had had their batteries removed. They fixed these problems.

Anderson believes that the location where smoke detectors are installed is often innappropriate. "If a detector is installed somewhere where it goes off all the time, like in a kitchen or outside a shower room, pretty soon people just take the batteries out. I'd recommend that anyone installing a smoke detector who is unsure where to put it should contact their local fire station for advice" he says.

Fire Service statistics show that up to 50% of all installed smoke detectors are not functional, usually because of flat or missing batteries. Householders are advised to test them regularly.