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Smoke Alarms


Why should I have a smoke alarm?

When you are asleep you lose your sense of smell. A working smoke alarm is your electronic nose and will alert you if there is smoke from a fire.

A small fire can grow to involve an entire room in two to three minutes. A smoke alarm provides early warning and time to escape.

If you do not have working smoke alarms:

  • You are 26 per cent more likely to suffer serious injuries
  • You are four times more likely to die

  • We recommend photoelectric smoke alarms as they consistently provide sufficient time for occupants to escape from smouldering and flaming fires provided the alarms are installed and maintained properly and occupants hear them.

    Smoke alarms connected to 240 volt mains power are required in all residential homes:

  • Newly built since 1997
  • Having undergone significant renovations since 1997
  • Sold since October 2009
  • Made available for rent or hire.

  • In all other homes we recommend the installation of mains powered smoke alarms as they are more reliable. If this is outside your budget, the next best option is long life lithium powered (10 year) smoke alarms. These smoke alarms will give you up to 10 years of smoke detection without needing to replace the batteries. The benefits are huge:

  • They remove the frustration of fixing the flat battery ‘beep’
  • You’re not having to pay for replaceable batteries each year (something to consider when comparing prices)
  • You don’t have to climb ladders to replace batteries every year.

  • Where your home has more than one smoke alarm, we also recommend that smoke alarms be interconnected. This means that when one smoke alarm detects a fire, all alarms throughout the house will sound to alert all the occupants of your home. If your home was newly constructed since the 1st May 2015, you are required by law to interconnect your smoke alarms.

    Maintain your smoke alarms

    Monthly: Test by holding down the test button until you hear a loud alert tone., then release. Use a broom handle if you cannot reach but be careful you do not damage the smoke alarm.
    Yearly: Vacuum around your smoke alarm vents with a soft brush attachment. This will remove a build-up of dust and cobwebs.
    Yearly: Use a surface insect spray around the smoke alarm to prevent insects nesting inside. Do not spray inside the alarm.
    Yearly: Replace your 9 volt battery each year on 1 April. (Mains powered smoke alarms have back-up batteries – check with the manufacturer or user instructions to see if the battery needs replacement).

    Remember all smoke alarms need to be replaced after 10 years.

    Related Publications


     Video: Smoke Alarms


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