4387.2 - Safety in the Home, Victoria, Oct 1998  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/03/1999  Ceased
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March 24, 1999
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
Significant increase in smoke alarm use in Victoria - ABS

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released today show that the proportion of Melbourne households with smoke detectors rose from 32% to 84% over the six years between October 1992 and October 1998. This increase may reflect the impact of legislation requiring smoke detectors in all Victorian homes from February 1999.

The rate of installation for households with young children was higher at 92%. By October 1998, a total of 1,039,500 Melbourne households (84%) and 1,461,300 Victorian households (84%) had smoke detectors. Comparisons with 1992 for the remainder of Victoria cannot be made because the 1992 survey encompassed Melbourne only.

The use of electrical safety switches in Melbourne households has also increased from 14% in October 1992 to 45% in October 1998. The rate of installation in households with young children was higher, at 56%, in October 1998. In 1992, the Victorian Government introduced legislation requiring electrical safety switches in all new dwellings and extensions.

In Victoria as a whole, rented dwellings were less likely to have these features installed. In October 1998, 80% of rented dwellings had smoke detectors, compared to 86% of dwellings owned or being purchased by the occupiers. 37% of rented dwellings had electrical safety switches compared to 48% of owner occupied dwellings.

Almost half of all Victorian households with smoke detectors installed are testing them less frequently than once per month and almost 12% said they never tested them.

Firearms were stored in almost 125,000 Victorian households (7.2%) and almost 35% of those households were storing them in wardrobes or cupboards.

Only 55% of rural households had fencing around their dwellings which would prevent young children from wandering away from the house. This rose only marginally to 58% for rural households with young children.

There were 152,600 horse riders in Victoria and 9% of them were riding for work or both work and recreation. Hard helmets were worn by 78% of all horse riders.

Details are in Safety in the Home, Victoria (cat. no. 4387.2), available from ABS bookshops in capital cities. A summary of findings from the publication is available from this site.