ACROSS Australia, April 1 or the end of daylight saving for southern states, is the day the Australian Fire Services uses to promote its annual national campaign to remind us to change our smoke alarm batteries.

For the second year in a row, Battery World Australia is offering an added incentive for us to remember this date – by offering free smoke alarm batteries.

Mildura Battery World’s Matt Milne said the only catch is you have to bring in your old ones for new at his, or any, Battery World store across Australia from April 1 to April 3.

“If you are the designated family member, buying for your extended family, we will happily swap as many as 10 batteries and recycle the old ones,” he said. “And why not use this opportunity to offer help to your older relatives, or neighbours? Fire statistics show seniors (people aged 65 and over) are the highest fire fatality risk group in the community. Figures collated in the last five years show as many as one in three fire-related deaths have been from this age group.

“Many are a bit nervous about going up a ladder, and often too proud to admit they need help.”

Brian’s message to us is worth listening to…

He may have rescued people from burning buildings many times during his working life, but retired fire fighter and grandfather Brian Humphreys is not too proud to ask for help to change his smoke alarm battery.

A veteran with 40 years on the job, Mr Humphreys has seen first-hand, too many times, how important a working smoke alarm is – how it really does save lives.

“As both a volunteer and a career fire fighter, sadly I witnessed many fatalities and injuries that may have been prevented if a working smoke alarm had been installed in the home,” he said.

“Smoke alarms are proven to save lives: they give people early warning. I am not ashamed to admit that over the years we have had some cooking misadventures and failure of electrical items where those smoke alarms in my own home have provided that very important early warning to me and my family, allowing swift action before the incident developed into a more serious or life threatening situation. So, it can happen to any of us, despite how careful we think we are.”

As a father of three and a grandfather of five, Mr Humphreys said he would happily ask for help.

“Often it becomes a matter of ‘out of sight, out of mind’,” he said. “There were many times when I was working, where we found homes with not only flat batteries, but many with no back-up battery at all. |When you think about how much more is going on in our homes these days with computers, modems and so many items left on charge: a working smoke alarm is critical.

“And if you live in a home where the garage is connected to your house, you really need to check and install a smoke alarm in the hall outside the door to the garage.

“The garage can be a virtual time bomb: we are charging our cordless drills, electric bike batteries you name it, often overnight, in an area where we store fuel for the mower or a spare gas bottle for the BBQ.”

(PICTURED) Brian Humphreys with Battery World staffer Lachlan Rooth