Every home in Western Australia should be fitted with a smoke alarm, according to Emergency Services Minister Bob Wiese.
Mr Wiese said during the last 18 months house fires had caused the death of 13 people in WA - eight of whom could have been saved if a smoke alarm had been installed.
"Just a few breaths of the highly poisonous smoke generated by burning carpets and furnishings is enough to render an adult unconscious or leave them choking and disorientated," he said.
"A smoke alarm will operate at the first indication of smoke and provide those vital extra moments needed to get out of the house."
The Minister highlighted the dangers of not having a household smoke alarm at today's launch of the winter fire safety awareness campaign being conducted at the Fire and Rescue Service.
The campaign, `Get Fired Up About Safety this Winter' will run for 12 weeks and feature the risk of home heating, chimneys, unattended cooking, candles, faulty electrical appliances and general fire safety.
Last winter WA firefighters attended more than 300 residential fires and the damage bill was more than $3.7 million.
"We must accept that fire safety is the responsibility of everyone in the family," Mr Wiese said.
"Our home should be a place of safety and comfort, but it has the potential to be a death trap if fire safety precautions are ignored."
In Victoria, investigations on 200 fires indicated that the early warning provided by smoke alarms significantly limited the damage to buildings and homes with an estimated savings of $18 million. It was also estimated that between April 1992 and December 1994 in Victoria nearly 180 lives were saved as a result of smoke alarms.
"The human sense of smell shuts down when a person is asleep, but the sound of a properly fitted smoke alarm can alert a sleeping person, giving them a much greater chance of avoiding injury or death," Mr Wiese said.
"Smoke alarms are particularly important in the homes of asthma sufferers who may have increased vulnerability to smoke and to the elderly and those with impaired mobility who need extra time to escape."
Media contact: Mark Thompson 322 2311