Check your alarms

HOUSEHOLDS around NSW are being urged to revisit fire safety procedures.

New research from Duracell has shown that NSW fire services attended more than 4000 house fires across the state in 2013, an average of 77 residential fires per week.

Fire and Rescue NSW Commissioner Greg Mullins said a fire could take hold of your home in less than three minutes.

"And all it takes is a few breaths of smoke before you're unconscious," he said. "A working smoke alarm gives you vital seconds to get out before you're overcome."

The Duracell Fire Safety survey also found 43 per cent of NSW parents only changed smoke alarm batteries when prompted by the smoke alarm beep, indicating the battery had gone flat or that the unit had passed its use-by date.

"Together with Duracell, our smoke alarm campaign partners, our message is simple: only working smoke alarms saves lives," Mr Mullins said. "So, when Daylight Saving ends on April 6, change your smoke alarm battery as well as your clock."

Mr Mullins and NSW Fire and Rescue recommend:

■ Testing your smoke alarm (by pressing the "test" button) once a month to ensure the battery and the alarm sounder are operating, and cleaning it with a vacuum cleaner.

■ Installing smoke alarms so that they will wake all occupants and give them time to evacuate.

■ Replacing your smoke alarm with a new unit every 10 years.

■ Going to your fire and emergency services website for instructions on an escape plan for your home, and practise it regularly.

■ Details: visit facebook/Duracell or your local fire and emergency services website.

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