Don’t trust old detectors: annual smoke alarm reminder no joke

Working smoke alarms will alert you if a fire has started in your home, giving you time to escape
Working smoke alarms will alert you if a fire has started in your home, giving you time to escape

More than half of Western Australians are unaware they need to replace their smoke alarms every 10 years, according to new research from the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES).

The findings have been released to coincide with DFES’ annual Don’t Be a Fool, Check Your Smoke Alarm campaign run on April Fool’s Day.

A recent DFES survey revealed 43 per cent of respondents had not tested their smoke alarms in the past year, while only 13 per cent had completed a check in the last month.

Additionally, 57 percent did not know they needed to replace their alarms every 10 years.

Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm AFSM said working smoke alarms gave people early warning of residential fires and regular maintenance was crucial.

“I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to have working smoke alarms in your home,” he said.

“Most residential fires that cause injury or death occur at night when people are asleep, and a small fire can engulf an entire room in just a couple of minutes.

“You need to test your smoke alarm every month by pressing the test button down until you hear a loud alert tone. You should remove any build-up of dust and cobwebs with a vacuum cleaner every six months.”

DFES responded to 724 residential structure fires in 2021, with electrical faults and unattended heat sources found to be the most common causes.

Commissioner Klemm also encouraged Western Australians to install heat alarms in their garages.

“Some of the most destructive house fires start in garages – a fire can take off in a garage with little to no warning and quickly tear through an entire house,” he said.

“Installing a heat alarm can help residents detect fires in these areas before they escalate.”

Under WA’s Building Regulations any dwelling being sold, rented or hired must have compliant smoke alarms.

For more information on how to install, maintain and inspect smoke alarms, visit the DFES website at

Media Contact: DFES Media and Corporate Communications 9395 9543.