February 08, 2018
“My smoke alarm keeps ringing when there’s no smoke in the house!”
“Every month or so my smoke alarm beeps for no reason!”
“My house isn’t on fire but my alarm seems to think it is!”
These are just some of a range of complaints that we tend to receive when smoke alarms blare, beep and blast. Despite being a household essential, the smoke alarm is subject to its fair share of criticism. That unexplained ringing that you sometimes hear and may, however, be part of the device’s ongoing, self-care.
Typically, smoke alarms are built with their own ‘end of battery/end of life warning.’ That pulsating, far-reaching sound that you hear (otherwise unexpectedly) – that could be your battery telling you it’s running low. It could also be a sign that it’s time to reinstall and to update; smoke alarms are only guaranteed to last 10 years, so be mindful of the date of installation.
Where’s your smoke alarm located? It could be debris, dust and dirt that has entered the device and interfered with the battery (thus causing the noise). Even insects and spiders can manoeuvre their way into your device. To avoid this, make sure the area is cleaned regularly, and keep an eye out for creepy critters.
It may not look like fire, and it may not warrant an alarm, but burnt toast, burnt pots/pans, or your neighbours wood fire are capable of triggering your device. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing: your smoke alarm is still working, and will work in the event of a fire! Smoke alarms are designed to detect the slightest interference.
Steam can also be a common culprit. Even humidity can set off your smoke alarm. Use those bathroom fans when taking a shower!
THERE’S A FIRE IN YOUR HOUSE!
Even if it’s not in front of you, and you can’t see it, there could still be a fire. Smoke detectors can sense things that you can’t – if nothing else can explain the beeping, it could be an electrical or hidden fire that you can’t quite pick up.
Be aware and be careful. A few irritating beeps are potentially life-saving. Don’t blame the detector, they’re just doing their job!
January 09, 2018
If you fall asleep scrolling through Facebook or Instagram, then listen up because you might want to find a new night-time habit!
The image above went viral on social media after it was shared by the Newton Fire Department in New Hampshire, England. The photo was taken by a local mother who awoke to her 16-year-old daughter almost burning herself after leaving her phone charging in bed. While no flames were sparked, the photo clearly shows the wires left scorch marks on the bedsheets – only a small step away from a fire.
Bedside charging is incredibly common, especially with kids, with around 53% of children charging their tablets or phones right near their pillow.
So how can your phone create a fire?
The most dangerous situation occurs when a phone charger has exposed wires. This was the likely cause of the scorch marks in the images above and often happens to cheaper, non-manufacturer chargers.
A second scenario occurs when the phone is charging or being used. For instance, by using high processing apps like YouTube or Online Games, your phone will produce excess heat. This can be particularly problematic if you are draining and charging at the same time, creating a double-effect.
And lastly, the risk of danger is typified when all the heat generated has nowhere to escape. This may be the case if your phone is buried under pillows or bed sheets.
A fire may be unlikely to ignite from any single one of the scenarios mentioned above, however, it is easy to foresee a situation where all factors are at play. You may be lying in bed, under the covers, charging your phone and watching YouTube, and suddenly things can become dangerous – FAST.
So how can you avoid these fire safety hazards?
- Throw away chargers with frayed wiring rather than repairing them (repairing them can be even more dangerous)
- Refrain from purchasing cheaper non-manufacturer products
- Charge your phone on a clear bedside table/desk away from other objects
- Considering turning your phone off at night (you might even get a better night rest!)
- If you do need to charge your phone on your bed, ensure it stays above the covers.
Stay Fire Safe!
The Detector Inspector Team.
December 04, 2017
No one wants to spoil the holiday season, but Christmas trees in the home can be a serious fire danger.
Follow these top 5 Christmas Fire Safety Tips and you’ll stay safe this festive season
1.Take Care With Fairy Lights!
When connecting your fairy lights, use no more than three sets of lights per power board. Even if a power board has four or more outlets, stick to a maximum of three!
Don’t connect more than three strands of mini-string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs.
The safest lights to use are LED Christmas Lights as they do not get hot and use less power.
And remember – always turn off your tree light before going to bed or leaving the house!
2. Choose The Right Spot For Your Tree
When choosing the location of your tree, it’s important to place your tree as far away as possible from any heat source. This includes highly flammable items, such as incense sticks or candles.
If using lights, then make sure electric cords are completely uncoiled and are not placed under rugs or mats.
3. Look After Your Tree
When choosing a tree, look for one that is fresh and has green needles that don’t fall out.
Brownish needles mean the tree is dried out and more prone to catch fire. Always remember to water the tree at the base to stop the leaves drying out and remove lights once they show signs of drying.
Get rid of your tree when its needles start dropping. It means the tree is drying out!
4. Take Care of Surrounding Area
Take care with candles, incense sticks and oil burners. Always make sure they are kept away from flammable items such as curtains and that they cannot be knocked over.
And remember – always keep matches, candles and lighters away from infants and small children.
5. Check Your Smoke Alarms!
It would be remiss of us not to mention the most critical fire safety tip of them all – ensure you have working smoke alarms!
If your Christmas tree catches on fire, it can generate a lot of heat quickly and spread to the rest of the house!
Follow these 5 tips and you’ll have a fire-safe Christmas!
November 21, 2017
Despite Detector Inspector being based around fire prevention, we can still appreciate the interesting aspects and unique beauty of fire.
For instance, have you ever wondered why some fires produce different colours flames?
The color of a fire’s flame depends on several different conditions; temperature, chemical composition, and the amount of oxygen present. Since combustion occurs, and varies with the presence of air, different parts of the flame have different colours depending upon the availability of air to support combustion.
Normally the hotter parts, closer to the burning fuels, will be whitish-blue; the more distant parts, on the other hand, will be cooler and hence orange-reddish.
The nature of the fuel and its chemical composition can also affect the colour of the flame. This is because when excited, every element can emit light; the wavelength, and hence the colour, of the emitted light is characteristic of each element.
Wood, natural gas, and oil, will emit light which will fall in the blue region. Lithium gives a pink flame, while Copper gives a green flame. Combining these chemicals in the correct combination can even produce a rainbow fire!
Apart from looking cool, the colour of a flame is also a quick way to determine the heat of a fire.
Below is a method to help you determine the heat of a wood, natural gas or oil-lit fire:
Just visible: 525 °C
Dull: 700 °C
Cherry, dull: 800 °C
Cherry, full: 900 °C
Cherry, clear: 1,000 °C
Deep: 1,100 °C
Clear: 1,200 °C
Whitish: 1,300 °C
Bright: 1,400 °C
Dazzling: 1,500 °C
We hope you are just as interested in fire as we are!
The Detector Inspector Team
October 10, 2017
Whether or not you are the next Heisenberg, your household likely contains dozens of highly combustible chemicals scattered in nearly every room. Most people are unaware of the chemicals in their home so they are equally unaware of how to safely use and store these chemicals.
When people think about fire safety in the home, they often think of the same few things- overcrowding electrical cords, kitchen safety, and the proper use of heating equipment. In short, people only think of items that directly produce heat.
But it’s equally important to be aware of ALL potentially flammable household items. This includes highly flammable chemicals that are used in almost every household.
These things include:
- Fuels used for lawnmowers and power tools
- Fuels used for heaters
- Paint thinners and solvents
- Cleaning products
- Pool chemicals
- Aerosols which use flammable propellant gas (cooking oil, hairspray, perfume)
- Acetone (nail polish remover) and
- Solvent based glues.
If not properly stored, chemicals may react with one another and spark a flame. If other chemicals are stored in that same area, a household fire can erupt within minutes.
Not only must these chemicals be stored correctly, but any rags used must also be safely disposed of. Rags used with volatile chemicals (petrol, turpentine, acetone etc) should be dried in a well ventilated area before disposal, while rags used with drying oils, such as linseed oil or oil-based paint, should be either immersed in water or spread out in a safe place to dry immediately after use. Failing to take these precautions may result in these rags spontaneously igniting after use.
Every household chemical has a specific list of storage and use safety requirements, most of which can be found on the bottle. It’s important to be aware of what chemicals are in your house and how they react with each other.
Stay fire safe!
September 11, 2017
Workplace fires are more common than some may realise. Even worse, they are often the cause of a mistake that could have been prevented. Damage and destruction to property resulting from workplace fire may cost thousands of dollars and result in injury or death to employees. Often, businesses never fully recover from a fire.
It’s important all businesses are aware of the most common causes of a workplace fires and take the necessary steps to protect their staff, premises and business from harm. With the right precautions and training, many workplace fires can be avoided.
The 3 most common causes of fires in the workplace are:
1) Faulty electrics are the most common cause of fires in non-domestic buildings and virtually every workplace uses some form of electrical equipment. Loose wires, broken plugs, overloaded sockets and faulty equipment- all of which carry a source of ignition. Each workplace should conduct regular inspections and ensure all electronics are maintained and do not pose a risk of fire
2) There are also thousands of chemicals in use in the modern Australian workplace. Many of these chemicals are flammable, so their improper handling may bring the risk of a fire. When a flammable liquid is spilt, vapours begin to form, and it is those vapours that will ignite. For this reason, flammable liquids should be cleaned up immediately or vapours will continue to build.
3) The last and perhaps the most avoidable cause of workplace fires is human error. A staff member mistakenly leaving an appliance on could be the cause of a fire. Even using the wrong type of fire extinguisher may make the fire more serious. Employees must be educated in the fire safety of their building with routine training conducted by fire safety experts. To create a workplace culture of fire safety, staff must be committed to repeated training.
Fire prevention should be considered a part of everyone’s job. This begins with knowledge and training and ends with common sense and self-awareness. Stay fire safe!
August 12, 2017
We are now in the depths of winter, so many of you will be turning up your heating devices to escape the cold. Along with bringing warmth, if these heaters are not properly maintained, they may also bring the added danger of fire or carbon monoxide poisoning. It is important to keep in mind some safety tips to reduce these potential dangers.
Here is a list of important tips that everyone should be aware of when heating their home!
- Energy Safe Victoria recommends having your heating units professionally checked for carbon monoxide leaks every 2 years
- All heaters need space! Keep anything that can burn, such as paper, bedding or furniture at least 1 meter away from fireplaces, stoves and space heaters
- Do not put space heaters on rugs or carpets, near bedding or drapes, and keep children and pets away.
- Do not use heating equipment to dry wet clothing
- Never use the stove or oven to heat your home
- Turn heaters off before leaving or going to bed
Allow Detector Inspector to manage the smoke alarms and gas appliances in your properties so you can stay warm AND safe all winter long.
July 12, 2017
When you pull a door in your home, does it feel like someone is pushing it closed from the other side? Do you feel random drafts of air sweep through your hallway? Do some of your rooms feel unusually hot or cold?
…If you have experienced these strange things, your home may have fallen victim to negative air pressure!
Negative air pressure is caused when more air is leaving the home than is being replenished from the outside. This difference in pressure causes the air to be sucked in through any number of passages including bathroom & kitchen fans, fireplaces and clothes dryers. As modern homes are built more efficient and air-tight than ever before, the likelihood of a negative pressure imbalance is even greater.
So why does this all matter? Well apart from the strange temperature changes and door-slamming, negative pressure has a far worse consequence- it can suck toxic carbon monoxide (CO) gas into your home that can lead to CO poisoning (see our November 2016 blog for more on CO poisoning).
CO is the by-product of faulty gas heaters, furnaces and boilers and through the help of negative air pressure, CO can enter a home undetected and cause death in minutes. In 2010, Victorian boys Chase and Tyler Robinson died from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by a combination of an un-serviced gas heater and exhaust fans that created negative pressure in their home.
Luckily, Detector Inspector has the tools and experience to check your gas appliances are not emitting toxic CO gas, preventing tragedies like what happened to Chase and Tyler Robinson from happening again.
Have your gas appliances checked today with Detector Inspector.
June 06, 2017
Ask someone to test a smoke alarm, and chances are they’ll tell you to press the ‘test’ button on the alarm. But this could be one of the more dangerous myths people believe.
Pressing the ‘test’ button only tests if the sound of the alarm is working; it has nothing to do with whether the device can actually detect smoke. Every smoke alarm contains 3 main elements – a smoke detection mechanism, a sounding alarm and battery power source. Pressing the ‘test’ button will only test 2 out these 3 elements. Conducting a smoke test is the only way to make sure all 3 elements are working properly.
Moreover, many fire alarm manuals expressly discourage using an open flame near the device. This eliminates the idea of lighting a match and holding it near the alarm. Instead, all Detector Inspector technicians use UL-rated cans of smoke for their tests.
Every smoke alarm inspected by a Detector Inspector technician is placed through a rigorous testing process. This involves replacing the batteries with 9V Duracell Professional Alkaline Batteries, a decibel test AND a smoke test. Only by testing all 3 elements of a smoke alarm, can we ensure the device will operate properly during a fire.
A false sense of security is no way to protect a home and family. Let Detector Inspector manage the fire safety in your property.
May 05, 2017
Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week is recognised annually in the first week of May to spread awareness about the toxic effects of carbon monoxide leaks within the home. The initiative was kickstarted by the Chase and Tyler Foundation, who have been integral in spreading this important message throughout the community.
In 2010, Chase and Tyler Robinson died from carbon monoxide poisoning from an unserviced gas heater in their rental property. They were only eight and six years old. The Chase and Tyler Foundation was soon after established to reduce the number of deaths and injuries in Australia caused by carbon monoxide.
As winter soon approaches, so too begins the start of the heating season. Families all over Australia will begin switching on their old, unserviced gas heaters- the most common emitter of carbon monoxide. Being odourless, tasteless and toxic, carbon monoxide is often only detected upon the onset of symptoms. This can include headaches, nausea, dizziness, a loss of consciousness, and sometimes a quick death.
To avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, every business and household should have their gas appliances checked annually by a licensed gas fitter. The Detector Inspector team of licensed gas fitters have experience in a broad range of brands and appliances and can test for minute levels of carbon monoxide. Our testing equipment prints on the spot receipts with the results of each gas appliance serviced.
In light of Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week, we suggest all households should get their gas appliances checked.
Don’t wait any longer and book an appointment today.
May 04, 2017
At it’s core, Detector Inspector promotes fire safety procedures in the home.
While it’s undoubtedly important to maintain an appropriate fire detection system, it’s equally important to know what to do next if an alarm does sound. One of the most important safety measures that any tenant can take is to develop a fire escape plan.
Developing a fire escape plan is simple and can be surprisingly fun. Here are a few tips to consider when making your fire escape plan.
- Walk through your home and inspect all possible exits and escape routes. A good idea is to mark two ways out of each room so if one is blocked, the other can be used. This can be a great interactive game to get children involved in, and will also help them learn. When you plan, make sure the escape routes are clear and doors and windows can be easily opened.
- Choose an outside meeting place. Any simple landmark will do, such as a neighbour’s house, a light post, a mailbox or a street sign. When you go outside you should also check if your street number is clearly visible from the road. If not, paint it on the curb or instal house numbers to ensure that responding emergency personnel can find your home.
- Practice your fire escape plan twice a year to get comfortable with the routine and ensure you have a clear head if that moment ever does come. While this may seem burdensome, it can actually be a great game. You might start in your bed and place a blindfold on and practise escaping by crawling, being in the dark and finding your nearest exit.
Hopefully your smoke alarms never sound and your fire escape plan is never used, but if they do, your ability to escape from a fire will depend on them!
March 01, 2017
At Detector Inspector, we pride ourselves on the ability to utilise modern technology to advance our systems, enhance our client’s experience and importantly, improve the fire safety of the homes and buildings we look after. So we wanted to show off our love for new technology and we thought there was no better way than use one of the ‘hottest’ pieces of technology currently available – Virtual Reality, otherwise known as VR.
At a recent Stockdale and Lego Trade Fair, Detector Inspector designed an interactive VR game that promoted fire safety in the home. Participants were given a pair of VR goggles and were instantly transported to a 360 degree virtual lounge room. From there, they had the task of spotting as many fire hazards as quick as possible.
The game was an absolute hit with everyone at the conference. For many, it was their first experience using VR, so automatically became a memorable one. And for everyone else, it provided a fun and entertaining way to learn about fire safety in the home.
Apart from the educational purpose of the game, it was a great way to discuss how Detector Inspector is leading its field in the technology game. Whether it be the advanced online portal, the SMS reminder service, the use of iPads by all technicians or the custom database system that integrates with all leading real estate systems – it is clear that Detector Inspector’s advanced systems are unmatched by its competitors.
If you would like to hear more about our services or would just like to have a chat, feel free to reach out to us anytime on 1300 134 563 or email – email@example.com.
January 22, 2017
Each Saturday, we post a fire prevention safety tip on our Facebook under the tagline of #SafetyTip. In case you have missed any, here is a compilation of our best safety tips that we have given over the past few months.
- ALWAYS REMEMBER TO EMPTY YOUR LINT TRAY IN YOUR DRYER: Lint builds up in a dryer, and being extremely flammable, is a serious fire hazard if left to accumulate!
- KEEP YOUR BBQ AT LEAST 1 METRE FROM FENCES, SHEDS AND WALLS: We are right in the heart of BBQ season so it’s super important to maintain fire safety around this heat producing summer essential.
- CHARGE ELECTRONIC DEVICES IN OPEN SPACES WITH LOTS OF AIRFLOW: Charging your phone or laptop creates a lot of heat, so a fire can start if left in a confined space or on top of flammable materials, such as a bed or underneath a pile of clothes. Always charge your devices on a table or desk, and ensure there is lots of air flow.
- TURN ON YOUR ELECTRIC BLANKET 30 MINUTES BEFORE BED TO AVOID FALLING ASLEEP WITH IT ON: If you switch on your electric blanket before bedtime, you can turn it off once you get into bed. This will help you avoid falling to sleep with the blanket on, which can be a serious fire hazard.
To keep up-to-date with our weekly Safety Tips, make sure to follow us on Facebook.
January 04, 2017
If you have a range of electrical gadgets in your lounge, bedroom or bathroom remember that overloading cheap power boards is a recipe for disaster. In 2015, there were over 450 fires caused by faulty electrical appliances in Melbourne alone, making it one of the leading causes of household fires.
Steve Attard, a fire investigator for the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, described the problem as “an issue of people being too trusting and too reliant on electrical devices”. In part, Mr Attard was describing the way many people leave their mobile phones or laptops charging unattended in hazardous places, such as on clothes, beds or rugs.
This problem is further exacerbated through the use of power boards, which allow multiple devices to be plugged into a single socket. Contrary to most beliefs, power boards are usually designed for temporary rather than permanent installation.
Moreover, often these power boards ‘piggybacked’ on top of other power boards, further overloading the electrical supply. When these power boards are cheaply designed they may malfunction due to excessive electrical demands, causing them to overheat and start a fire.
At Detector Inspector, we believe in promoting fire safety at the workplace and in the home. We recommend that everybody refrain from overloading or ‘piggybacking’ their power boards, keeps their electrical cords tidy and out of reach from flammable materials.
If you need more power outlets permanently, hire a qualified electrician to install them.
December 05, 2016
Spot the odd one out!
A photo of a smoke detector is not glamorous. It’s not one of your usual snaps of beach holidays, perfectly prepared meals or giggling babies. But the above photo ensures the quality of our technicians work and may be valuable evidence against a negligence claim due to fire related damage or injury.
All Detector Inspector technicians take photos of every smoke detector they visit. Each photo is stamped with the exact date and time it was taken, and include a GPS location of the smoke alarm. And better yet, each photo can be accessed by the agent through the online portal on the Detector Inspector website, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Stay accountable. Happy snapping.
November 17, 2016
I would like to introduce you to CO, also known as carbon monoxide gas.
Have you heard of carbon monoxide before? Maybe. Or maybe you’re thinking of carbon monoxide’s more popular cousin, CO2, otherwise known as carbon dioxide. Nearly everyone has heard of carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is what we exhale every time we breathe, it makes up the atmosphere we live in and is vital for life on earth.
Carbon monoxide is like the little evil cousin of carbon dioxide, it looks and sounds similar, but couldn’t be more different. It’s colourless, odourless, tasteless, and extremely dangerous to humans.
I can already hear you thinking- OK, thanks for the chemistry lesson, but how does this apply to me?. Well the thing is, carbon monoxide (the toxic one) is often emitted from faulty gas appliances.
In the past decade, countless Australians have tragically died due to carbon monoxide poisoning. In 2015, as a result of a string carbon monoxide incidents, the Victorian Minister for Energy and Resources, Lily D’Ambrosio, teamed up with Energy Safe Victoria to spearhead a campaign to remind the public of the dangers relating carbon monoxide poisoning through gas heaters. At the forefront of the campaign it was recommended that households “find a gasfitter in the local area have gas heaters serviced at least every two years” (Minister D’Ambrosio, May 2015).
All Detector Inspector gas services are completed by fully licenced gas fitters who can provide on the spot carbon monoxide test results from each gas appliance serviced.
Prevent Carbon Monoxide leaks before they occur.
October 20, 2016
Here are the facts, without a working smoke alarm:
- Risk of property loss and damage is 57% higher
- Tenants are 26% more likely to suffer serious injuries
- Tenants are 4x more likely to die
A smoke alarm gives an early warning sign of a fire and allows a safe escape from the premises. But even this simple household device needs to be properly maintained.
All state fire services recommend household smoke alarms be fully checked and tested at least once a year. Detector Inspector technicians provide a comprehensive checking system which includes smoke and siren testing, battery replacement and alarm position in accordance with Australian Standards AS 3786-1993 and Building Code Regulations. This provides occupants the best protection against fire.
Whether you’re a homeowner or a landlord, don’t risk human life because of an improper smoke alarm check.
Have your smoke-detectors checked annually and take the heat off yourself.
*Statistics retrieved from The Melbourne Fire Brigade
October 06, 2016
We would like to congratulate the QLD Government for recently legislating new laws requiring the use of photoelectric smoke alarms, giving QLD the most comprehensive and effective smoke alarm laws in Australia.
In a recent Detector Inspector blog post (see July 14th 2016), we discussed the superior technology of photoelectric smoke alarms in detecting fires, and why they are the only smoke alarm installed by our technicians.
On 1st September the QLD government passed the Fire and Emergency Services (Domestic Smoke Alarms) Amendment Act 2016, which requires the installation of interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms in all newly built QLD homes and when old existing alarms are replaced.
The added requirement of the alarms being interconnected is critical in ensuring residents have sufficient time to escape from a house fire. This means that all alarms in a dwelling are linked to each other where if one is triggered, all are activated.
The changes commence on 1st January 2017, and will be phased in over a 10 year period. Therefore, by 2027 every QLD home will have an interconnected smoke alarm system or else be in breach of the law.
This is a huge step forward by the QLD government and we hope other states will soon follow.
July 14, 2016
There has been a lot of talk recently regarding the different types of smoke alarms, in particular photoelectric smoke alarms. You’re probably wondering if this information is relevant to you. Should you be paying attention? What if you already have a smoke alarm installed?
The answer is YES – when installing new smoke alarms in your household or when changing expired ionisation-type smoke alarms, photoelectric smoke alarms should always be your first choice.
As suggested by the Duty Commander of the NSW Fire and Rescue Brigade, Stewart Alexander, “we’re encouraging people to replace their older smoke alarms, particularly if they are aware they have an ionisation-type alarm. We recommend the photoelectric-style fire alarm”.
Photoelectric smoke alarms work by detecting visible particles of combustion. By aiming a light source into a sensing chamber, the light gets reflected onto the sensor when smoke enters the chamber, and the alarm is triggered. This is different to an ionisation smoke alarm, which works through detecting the invisible particles of combustion, rather than the visible ones. A small amount of radioactive material interacts between two electrically charged plates to ionise the air between the plates. When smoke enters the chamber, the ionised airflow is disrupted and the alarm is triggered.
The reason that photoelectric smoke alarms are more valuable to you, is that they are more efficient at detecting slow burning, smouldering fires, which are the most common type of fire in home environments.
At Detector Inspector, we only install photoelectric smoke detectors to ensure the highest level of protection.
Please be aware, though, that the most important thing you can do to keep you and your family safe is change your smoke alarm batteries once a year, every year.
May 24, 2015
Over the last few weeks the Detector Inspector team has been participating in a number of industry events including The Ideas Exchange and the LJ Hooker Summit conference.
When preparing for these events we considered what to do with our event space and thought it a great opportunity to spread the message of home fire safety – after all, that’s our job! But rather than talk solely about the need for smoke alarms and smoke alarm services, we thought to highlight a range of easily avoidable fire hazards which are commonly found to be the cause of fires in the home.
Take a minute and review the scene in the image of this blog post. It contains seven fire hazards which most of us have had some experience with. Below we review each one a little closer but before you continue see if you can identify all seven.
Fire Hazard #1
Piggy backing plugs into one socket or using double adapters can cause you to exceed the maximum current rating of your power board and putting yourself at risk of a home fire.
Fire Hazard #2
Believe it or not, leaving your laptop powered up and resting on a bed or a couch can cause a home fire. The cooling fan inside the computer may not be able to get the air it needs resulting in the device overheating and starting a fire.
Fire Hazard #3
To many this may seem antiquated, but some people still choose to smoke inside their homes. Unattended or dropped burning cigarettes cause a significant number of house fires each year. Smoking in bed in particular should be avoided as the smell of smoke will not wake you up if a fire is occurring.
Fire Hazard #4
Children have a fascination with fire but often don’t fully understand the dangers. Be sure to talk to them about fire safety, explain that fire is a tool not a toy and at all times keep matches and lighters out of their reach.
Fire Hazard #5
Many Australians are guilty of leaving electrical appliances running when they are out of the home, despite this being one of the most common causes of house fires. Most people remember to turn off heaters but other common appliances are not treated the same way and can cause a fire. If no one is home to notice and call for assistance
or extinguish the fire the results can be devastating.
Fire Hazard #6
Don’t get us wrong, we’re not suggesting that you should never use candles indoors. They have a role to play in ceremony, celebrating and relaxing, but care should always be taken.
Consider the following points: Any material or fabric should be cleared from the proximity of the flame. Use only sturdy candle holders so they will not fall over. Candles should not be used in the bedroom where people might fall asleep. Be sure to blow out any burning candles before leaving the home.
Fire Hazard #7
Be careful when using heaters and fire places, and especially when using them for purposes other than intended. In this image a clothes rack has been placed directly in front of a fire place as a make-shift dryer. This is a clear fire hazard and should be avoided.
Having reviewed some of the most common home fire hazards we wish to reiterate the importance of smoke alarms in the home. These devices are your best defense against the potential loss of property and life should a fire occur in your home.
If you’re renting please ask your agent, who is servicing my smoke alarm?
Remember, only working smoke alarms save lives!
March 12, 2015
The Ideas Exchange is coming to Sydney (Tuesday 12 May) and Melbourne (Friday 15 May) and Detector Inspector is giving you the opportunity to win two tickets to what is being described as a ‘must-attend event for switched-on real
estate sales agents and business owners’ across Australia.
Hosted by The Real Estate Project and now in its third year the event features keynote sessions delivered by influential industry experts, along with breakout programs during the day so you spend your valuable time hearing from the most relevant presenters on what you need to grow your business.
The competition will be open for two weeks, starting 9:00am Tuesday March 24 and ending midnight Tuesday April 7. Enter below via the competition app for your chance to win. The more entry options you select the more entry points you will gain.
*Conditions apply. Competition starts 9:00am 24/03/2015 and ends midnight 07/04/2015. Open to Australian residents. The winner will receive two tickets to the Ideas Exchange event of their choosing. The winner will be selected at random from all eligible entries via Rafflecopter and notified by email. Any travel or associated expenses are the responsibility of the winner. By entering you agree to be added to the Detector Inspector database.
February 27, 2015
A recent report from Residential Property Manager is a real cause for alarm as far as smoke alarm compliance is concerned.
Statistics have not only revealed that one third of Property Manager properties across Australia are non-compliant with relevant legislation but also that the issue is a growing one, with the rate of non-compliant agent-managed properties increasing since 2010.
This is particularly concerning when combined with figures indicating that “48 per cent of properties managed by real estate agencies nationally require at least one of their smoke alarms to be replaced, and 35 per cent have no working smoke alarms installed.”
What does all this mean? With a lack of smoke alarm testing and servicing it means homes are at risk, tenants lives are at risk and agencies, property managers and landlords may all be at risk of potential litigation in the event of a fire.
Domain Property Advocates director Melanie Dennis understand the importance of smoke detector compliance and engages our team at Detector Inspector to protect their landlords and the company from liability through professional smoke alarm maintenance services. “We utilise the service of Detector Inspector, who routinely inspects all of our rental properties, ensuring the smoke detectors are working and replace them on the spot if they are not.””
Read the full article at rpmonline
December 23, 2014
When you think of a fire in Summer hopefully you’re picturing a beautiful (contained) bonfire or campfire like in the picture above. The air is warm and the marshmallows are ready for toasting – can’t you just feel it! These are good fires, but with the weather heating up it’s an ideal time to ensure you’re ready for a fun and safe summer with some important summer fire safety tips to protect your home from an unexpected and unwelcome fire. Various factors can contribute to an increase in the instances of house fires in summer including the increased use of barbeques, fans and air conditioners as well as the increased consumption of alcohol and the greater amount of time children spend at home during the holidays.
Barbeque with Care
By all means fire up your barbeque and make the most of the summer weather but take the right precautions or you might find it too hot to handle. While this is not an exhaustive list, it includes some key tips for a safe barbeque:
- Comply with any fire restrictions such as total fire ban days and avoid barbequing in these instances
- Check the gas cylinder and all gas connections for damage or leaks.
- Be sure to position your barbeque on level ground away from anything flammable and in a well vented area.
- Have a water source such as a garden hose nearby.
- Do not put flammable liquids such as kerosene or petrol on the barbeque and keep all flammable liquids at a safe distance.
- Never leave your barbeque unattended when cooking.
- Ensure your children are at a safe distance and understand that the barbeque is not a toy.
Keep Cool but Stay Safe
We understand the need to stay cool in the climbing heat, but safety must come first. Maybe you haven’t used that air conditioner or fan since last summer – so how do you know it is in full working order? Dust accumulates around fan motors and these appliances are often damaged during storage in winter. Portable fans can also suffer from damaged electrical cords when not stored correctly. These factors can easily contribute to and result in a fire. It is important that such devices are inspected by a qualified electrician and cleaned before use.
A beer or a cocktail seems to taste that bit better in summer doesn’t it? Feel free to get together with friends and enjoy yourself but be responsible and don’t mix drinking with other activities that could leave you vulnerable to fire, such as cooking. Be self-aware and know that you are not likely to be as vigilant with fire safety when under the influence of alcohol.
Keep Kids Educated and Entertained
It should come as no surprise that statistics indicated a spike in house fires during school holidays. Children can be responsible for fires due to a lack of education around fire safety, or out of boredom or mischief when not kept sufficiently active or when left alone for extended periods of time. Parents should teach children about fire safety, the importance of not lighting fires and how to respond in the instance of a home fire.
Ensure your Smoke Detector is at the Ready
Finally, check your property has smoke alarms installed and that they are in full working condition. If you own your home, ensure the battery is working or replace it if required, ensure the alarm is within its expiry date and that it is clean and free from obstruction. Depress the test button to confirm the alarm tone. If you are renting ask your agent – who is servicing my smoke detector? Remember, only working alarms save lives.
December 08, 2014
The festive season is a wonderful time, but it brings with it a host of potential hazards which can lead to instances of home fires. All too many people experience accidents caused by anything from ill-placed Christmas trees to sub-standard fairy lights, overloaded power boards to unattended candles. In addition to making sure you have a working smoke alarm installed and tested in your home, let’s take a look at how to keep you and your family safe this Christmas.
- Don’t overload power boards or electrical circuits.
- Don’t plug multiple double adaptors into one another.
- Opt for power boards with overload and earth leakage protection.
Light it up Safely
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding assembly, installation and globe replacement for decorative lights.
- Check stored decorative lights for faults including damaged or frayed wiring and leads or missing bulbs. Where you find any of these hazards, throw them away and purchase a new set.
- When buying lights make sure they meet Australian standards and show the Australian Standards label.
- Use the right lights for the right location, ie. Do not use outdoor lights inside the home.
- Do not cover or modify decorative lights.
- Turn off and unplug decorative lights when going to bed or when leaving the home as they can overheat when left on for extended periods of time.
Use Caution with Candles
- Place candles away from flammable items such as curtains, Christmas trees, decorations or wrapping paper.
- Keep candles out of reach from children.
- Blow candles out when not in their proximity – do not leave them burning and unattended.
Top Tree Tips
- If buying or using an artificial tree make sure it is certified as non-flammable or flame retardant.
- If buying or using a real tree, choose one which is fresh with green needles that do not fall off when touched. Be sure to water it daily and remove it promptly after Christmas.
- Keep the tree at a safe distance from any heat source such as vents, fire places or candles.
- Do not place the tree where it blocks an entrance or exit.
- Do not use damaged strings of lights or lit candles to decorate the tree.
- Turn off all lighting decorations when leaving the home or going to bed.
November 11, 2014
The Fire Safety Awards finalists have recently been announced for 2014. The awards recognise the exceptional work undertaken by individuals, groups and organisations to raise the level of fire safety awareness and fire prevention for both structural fires and bush fires in Victoria.
As an organisation dedicated to the prevention of house fires through comprehensive smoke detector maintenance, we’re thrilled to have read that this year the organisers received over 110 submissions from various community groups, fire agencies, local councils, product designers and media. It’s so wonderful to see Victorians dedicating time and effort toward fire safety awareness and prevention, and understanding that their efforts can truly save lives. Professional smoke alarm servicing is a critical element of fire safety in the home environment, but as the various finalist projects demonstrate, everyone has a role to play.
Presented since 1983, the awards are a collaboration between Victoria’s key fire authorities including the Country Fire Authority (CFA), Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services Board (MFB) and the Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI). It is further supported by Emergency Management Victoria and ABC Local Radio Victoria. RACV Insurance is a long term partner who both hosts the Awards and provides an Award for Excellence to one project, worth $10,000.
Detector Inspector applaud the efforts of all entrants and wish to congratulate the deserving finalists. Winners will be announced at a gala event to be held December 4 at the RACV Club.
As always, please ensure you have a working smoke alarm. Only working smoke alarms save lives!
For more information on the Fire Awareness Awards and for a full list of finalists, visit http://fireawarenessawards.com.au/.
October 28, 2014
Of all the reasons a fire may occur in the home environment, cooking is one of the most common causes. Each year firefighters are called out to respond to hundreds upon hundreds of cooking fires in Australia which can result in the loss of one’s home, burn injuries or even fatalities in extreme cases. Fire authorities report varying figures of between 40-50% of all residential house fires originating in the kitchen.
Why is this the case? The truth is that even where residents have smoke alarms and have regular smoke alarm maintenance conducted, common sense doesn’t always prevail in the kitchen. People are not as prepared as they should be and don’t always pay as much attention to what they are doing as they should either. The key to protecting yourself from a kitchen fire is knowing the risks, and what to do to minimise them.
The number one rule is simple enough – never leave cooking unattended! But that’s just the start. Below is a checklist of safety tips we strongly encourage you to observe.
To prevent a kitchen fire:
- Never leave cooking unattended. If you must leave the kitchen, be sure to turn off the hotplate.
- Buy a fire blanked and a portable dry chemical fire extinguisher that meets Australian standards.
- Use extra caution when cooking with oils, heat them slowly and use an appropriately sized pan.
- Turn pot and pan handles inward, away from your body, to avoid knocking them over.
- Keep children at a safe distance from hotplates and ovens whilst cooking.
- Turn off cooking appliances after use.
- Keep tea towels and oven mitts at a safe distance from stoves and cook tops.
If a kitchen fire occurs:
- Do not throw water on to an oil or fat fire. Put it out using a fire blanket, dry chemical powder fire extinguisher or cooking lid.
- Do not move or carry a pan that has caught alight. This may cause injury or further spread the fire through spillage.
- If an oven fire occurs, smother the fire by turning the oven off and closing the oven door. Wait 60 seconds. If the fire continues to burn evacuate immediately and call 000.
- If a kitchen fire occurs and you don’t feel comfortable putting it out, turn off the appliance and escape to a safe distance before calling 000.
As always, make sure you have a working smoke detector and do not neglect regular smoke alarm testing. Only working smoke alarms save lives.
October 17, 2014
With a 60 Minutes special investigation exploring the potential dangers of ionisation smoke alarms airing on Sunday 19th October 2014, we thought to provide some clarity around the state of play and explain the differences between the two key types of smoke alarms used in Australia.
Missed the feature? Watch this short clip from 60 Minutes ‘Extra Minutes’ and get the information you need to keep your property and your family safe.
Two types of smoke alarms are commonly found in Australian homes; Photoelectric and Ionisation. It is important to note that currently both types can be legally purchased and used as both meet the required Australian Standard AS3786. However, for a number of years now photoelectric smoke alarms have been the only type recommended by Australian Fire Authorities and Fire Brigades, as well as the International Association of Fire Fighters. In fact, a global campaign is now calling for a total ban of ionisation alarms. Within Australia, the Northern Territory is ahead of the curve with the Northern Territory Fire Service already legislating against the use of ionisation alarms in the region.
But what’s the difference and why are photoelectric detectors so highly recommended? For the most part, it’s all about how they detect fires and importantly, how quickly they respond.
Photoelectric Smoke Alarms
These alarms detect visible particles of combustion so it is often said that they ‘see’ smoke. They work by aiming a light source into a sensing chamber so that when smoke particles enter the chamber, light is reflected onto the sensor, triggering the alarm.
The fact is that in both the real world and controlled instance of smoke alarm testing, they have been proven to be more effective and respond significantly faster to smouldering fires. These are fires which are slower burning and produce a lot of smoke, the most common type in the home environment. The faster you can be alerted, the more precious time you have to get yourself and your family to safety. They are also less likely to emit false alarms from cooking or steam in the bathroom.
Ionisation Smoke Alarms
These alarms are said to ‘smell’ the smoke that comes from flames in that they detect invisible particles of combustion. As opposed to photoelectric alarms these work though a small amount of radioactive material that exists between two electrically charged plates. This material ionises the air causing a current between the plates. When smoke enters the chamber the flow is disrupted, activating the alarm.
While they are not generally recommended over photoelectric detectors, they do activate more quickly for fast flaming fires. The disadvantages however are significant. They are slower to respond to smouldering fires, which can lead to visibility and breathing difficulties when occupants are attempting to escape a house fire. They are also prone to more false alarms, resulting in people removing the battery and thereby losing all protection.
How can you tell what’s in your home?
It should be clearly stated on each smoke detectors label whether it is an ionisation or photoelectric smoke alarm. However, if it is not clearly stated you will see a bright yellow ‘radiation’ symbol inside or on the back of an ionisation alarm.
The Detector Inspector Service
In accordance with the recommendations of Australian Fire Authorities and in the interest of ensuring maximum occupancy safety, Detector Inspector technicians only install and replace smoke alarms with photoelectric smoke detectors as part of our annual smoke detector maintenance service. Now until November 30, 2014, we are offering our clients a heavily subsidised ‘change-over’ service to change their existing ionisation alarm for a photoelectric alarm for complete peace of mind. For more information, download our Position Statement.
If you have any questions in relation to smoke alarms, home fire safety or the change-over offer please don’t hesitate to contact us.
October 08, 2014
When it comes to carbon monoxide, there are some scary facts out there. According to Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) 9 people have been killed in Victoria by carbon monoxide poisoning in the past decade alone. The most frightening part of this is that the deadly gas responsible is colourless, odourless and virtually undetectable without the proper equipment – which is exactly why is it often referred to as ‘the silent killer’. Technically, carbon monoxide is a by-product of the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels. In the home environment, carbon monoxide is produced by faulty gas appliances, often caused by a lack of, or improper servicing.
The legislation with regard to gas and electrical servicing is clear. The Residential Tenancies Act (1997) section (68) states that “A landlord must ensure that the rented premises are maintained in good repair.” This includes gas appliances provided by the landlord. Furthermore, Energy Safe Victoria states “Failure to ensure gas and electric appliances are properly installed or correctly maintained according to the manufacturer’s instructions could not only potentially kill or harm the tenants, but could cause significant property damage and expose the landlord to civil liability and potentially costly litigation. There might also be unintended impacts on the landlord’s insurance if injury or damage is found to have been caused by poorly serviced or unsafe appliances.”
The team at Detector Inspector not only offer annual smoke detector maintenance but also comprehensive carbon monoxide gas services. Priding ourselves on the quality of our servicing we engage only licensed, qualified gas plumbers who are authorised by the Plumbing Industry Commission (PIC). The combination of state-of-the-art carbon monoxide testing equipment, specialised industry knowledge and comprehensive reporting means you can rest assured that tenants lives are kept safe, landlord’s properties are secure and you remain compliant with legislation and protected from potential litigation.
For further information download the ESV’s ‘Gas & Electricity Safety in the Home’ responsibilities brochure here.
Contact us today and let us take the heat off you with complete smoke detector and carbon monoxide gas servicing for tenant safety and the protection of landlords and agents.
September 30, 2014
The U.S. National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) has teamed up with LEGOLAND Florida and LEGOLAND California Resort for the third year to launch the 2014 “Smoke Alarm Pledge”. Designed to support the U.S. Fire Prevention Week, October 5 – 11, the “Smoke Alarm Pledge” is a promise to test each of your home’s smoke alarms each month to ensure they are in effective working order. As it stands, monthly testing of smoke alarms in the home is something not commonly done in the states, or here in Australia for that matter.
Between September 2nd and October 5th, anyone who completes the “Smoke Alarm Pledge” form will be automatically entered into the campaign sweepstakes. One grand prize winner will receive a trip for four to LEGOLAND Florida or LEGOLAND California Resort including tickets, airfare and accommodation. Ten runners up will also win four tickets to the park of their choice. Sorry too all our friends in Australia, but only US residents may apply – yes, we’re as disappointed as you are!
In addition to the pledge, both Parks will be playing host to fire safety events and activities before and during the campaign to drive home the all-important fire safety messages. “Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire in half,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “Teaming up with our LEGOLAND partners to sponsor the smoke alarm pledge presents a fun, simple way to motivate the public to test their smoke alarms monthly and to help ensure that they are protected in the event of a home fire.”
According to NFPA statistics, three out of every five home fire deaths in the U.S. are a result of fires in homes which are either not fitted with smoke alarms or have smoke alarms which are not in working condition. Failing to ensure adequate smoke alarm testing is like wearing a bullet proof vest made from paper, or jumping from a plane with a parachute with a giant hole in it – it simply offers no protection. So, be sure to test your smoke alarms regularly and engage the services of professional smoke alarm maintenance providers. As we always say, only working smoke alarms save lives!
September 22, 2014
Most home fires are avoidable and professional smoke detector maintenance is a crucial element in protecting your home and your family. But there is more we can do at home too, and it should start with our kids.
Children are curious creatures, they love exploring and discovering new things. But they also don’t always know the difference between a toy and a tool and often don’t understand that a small flame can quickly grow into a serious fire. A recent fire in a two-story Port Melbourne home, caused by a child playing with matches in his bedroom, highlights the need to ensure our children are well educated in this regard.
So, what can you do to provide your kids with an appropriate understanding of home fire safety and prevent potential damage and injuries? Here are our top 10 tips, as recommended by fire authorities.
- Children commonly imitate adult behaviour. Set good examples in the home with regard to the use of heaters, matches, lighters and so on.
- Don’t try to educate through scare tactics. Be calm and reasonable in your approach to fire education. Understand that should a child receive a minor burn, it may not reduce their interest in fire.
- Teach kids that fire is a ‘tool’ and not a ‘toy’.
- Be aware that younger children may play with fire in their bedroom and keep an eye out for signs of this such as burns to clothing or blankets, or lighters in your child’s pockets.
- Keep any matches and lighters secure and out of reach of children.
- Teach children to tell an adult if they find a lighter or matches in the house.
- Teach older children how to use matches and fire safely.
- Supervise children in the kitchen and keep them away from the stove top and oven.
- Be sure your children know what the smoke alarm is, how it works and what to do if it is in alarm. Discuss and practice your escape plan with your family.
- Teach children critical fire survival skills such as “Get Down Low and Go, Go, go!” and “Stop, Drop and Roll”.
Detector Inspector works to ensure the safety of your home and family through annual smoke alarm services, but you have an important role to play too. Educate your children today and prevent a potentially devastating home fire.
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September 09, 2014
New technology is continuously emerging all around us and we at Detector Inspector keep one eye on the digital landscape, seeking ways to continually advance our capabilities and service offering.
As of July this year all technicians have been equipped with Samsung Galaxy tablets complete with custom designed and purpose built software, created specifically with smoke detector maintenance in mind. Our technicians are now able capture and store even more information while on-site, including the location of all smoke detectors, label and expiry date information and photos of the detectors. The service process is streamlined with all critical service data delivered back to our head office and added to a comprehensive smoke detector photo database, in real-time.
The quality of our smoke alarm services is further ensured through an approval system which monitors new service data and compares it to historical data for a given property. Should a discrepancy occur the technician will be immediately notified and an approval code required to complete the service.
What does stage two look like?
The adoption of tablets affords us some serious efficiency and quality control gains but stage two is all about you – property managers and landlords. We’re currently developing a comprehensive agents portal where you as a property manager will be able to to view all information and photos pertaining to the smoke detectors at all properties you are responsible for, and in turn provide landlords with access via a secure link. We’ll be sure to keep you posted as we move closer to a launch date.
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August 26, 2014
They may not be Toyotas, but it’s still a great feeling!
There’s a new fleet in town, and it comes with a message of fire safety. The team at Detector Inspector is pleased to announce the recent update of our company fleet of Hyundia i20 vehicles. In fact, as the image shows, Director Jordan Kagan Gescheit was literally ‘jumping for joy’ Toyota style when the first of the lot arrived back on site. “They may not be Toyotas, but we’re nuts about fire safety and it’s still a great feeling,” Jordan said with a smile.
The new vehicle skin aesthetic sports the trademark Detector Inspector logo and graphics featuring a smoke alarm and flames. There’s no denying that the move to a branded fleet of technician vehicles will work to increase the visibility of the Detector Inspector brand and our smoke alarm services at the ground level. However, it is also the hope of our Directors Jordan Kagan Gescheit and Jason Radolnik that the new look fleet will serve as a constant presence and ongoing reminder of home fire safety for the general public, and the need to ensure proper smoke detector maintenance.
We look forward to seeing you all on the road!
Property Managers and Landlords, if you’re ready to ensure the safety of your tenants and protect yourself from liability contact us now.
August 14, 2014
Victorian fire agencies, the MFB (Melbourne Fire Brigade) and CFA (Country Fire Authority) have teamed up to launch a clever and quirky campaign designed to increase awareness of how small mistakes at home can cause fires, and how frequently this occurs.
The latest statistics are rather alarming (pun intended), showing that there were a total of 283 preventable and avoidable home fires in Victoria in the month June 2014 alone. CFA Deputy Chief Officer Gavin Thompson explains that “unattended cooking, smoking, poorly maintained appliances or hanging clothes too close to a heater are all common culprits.”
Recognising that traditional communication around home fire safety is targeted at children, the agencies took a vastly different approach to stimulate engagement and educate adults, using humour to convey their important messages. Creating an engaging and interactive “Safe Mistake Zone” the campaign took to the streets of Melbourne on Wednesday 3 July, setting up at Federation Square and enabling Victorians to come and make a variety of safe mistakes including committing to a bad tattoo, posing for a really bad family portrait, marrying a stranger or getting a new hairstyle from someone with absolutely no training. At the same time people were learning about the range of unsafe mistakes which commonly cause house fires and the MFB hosted live safety demonstrations showing, for example, how to put out a kitchen fire.
Some very important lessons were delivered through this initiative and Detector Inspector applaud the authorities involved for creating what will hopefully be a highly successful campaign. Having said that, the value of smoke detectors, and smoke detector services and maintenance cannot be understated. Should a fire break out, every second counts, and a working smoke alarm is your best bet in minimizing the damage to your property or potential loss of life.
Visit the Safe Mistake Zone website at www.safemistakezone.com.au to watch the official video, get the Safe Mistake home fire stats infographic and even make your own #safemistake online.
May 21, 2014