BY changing smoke alarm batteries at the end of daylight saving this Sunday, Novocastrians could be saving their lives.
As the nights become cooler and people start using heating appliances, smoke alarm maintenance becomes even more important.
Fire and Rescue NSW figures show that 43 per cent of fire deaths a year occur in winter. Last year there were 334 house fires in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie, 14 of them ignited by a cooking appliance or heater.
Residents might not realise an appliance has caught fire until they hear the smoke alarm's distinctive signal.
Fire and Rescue NSW recommends that residents test their smoke alarms once a month by pressing the "test" button on the unit. They should also vacuum vents on the unit to prevent dust build-up.
Smoke alarms should be installed in hallways and entry ways, as well as in bedrooms.
■ Use turning back your clock one hour this Saturday night, April 5, as a reminder to change smoke alarm batteries. Go to fire.nsw.gov.au for more information on smoke alarms.