You'd be a fool not to check your smoke alarm batteries

BATTERY World is setting a challenge for Gladstone residents that is no April Fool's Day joke - to go up a ladder for Grandma and Grandpa on April 1 to possibly save their lives.

Across Australia, April 1 is the day the Australian Fire Services promotes its annual national campaign to remind us to change our smoke alarm batteries.

According to Fire and Rescue data, 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.

Owner of local Battery World store Angelo Maltabes said for less than the cost of a cup of coffee cup you can pick up a nine-volt smoke alarm battery for $1 and replace the existing one.

Mr Maltabes said, given their high risk, it was vital seniors had a working smoke alarm to ensure an early warning of fire and time to escape safely.

"Many (seniors) couldn't possibly get up on a ladder to change their battery and might not even think about it. For many of us the smoke alarm is out of sight so out of mind," he said.

"In the years that we have supported the annual changeover day, alarmingly we have found in the past many elderly not only had flat batteries in their smoke alarms but many did not have batteries in them at all.

"They have no way of knowing how long the alarms had been this way, which could have proved fatal if there was a fire. Next time you visit your grandparents or someone elderly just ask them when did they change their smoke alarm battery last. That question could really save their life.

"According to the Australian Fire Service you increase the risk of a fatality in a house fire by as much as 60% if you haven't got a working smoke alarm so it is a timely reminder for all of us not to be complacent.

"This is a small thing we can do to look after our senior citizens and say thank you for their contribution to our community over the years," Mr Maltabes said.