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Which is the best alarm?
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Only working smoke alarms save lives!

  • You should install a photoelectric smoke alarm in each sleeping area (bedroom), hallway and living area. Smoke alarms should be supported by a home fire escape plan.
  • Test alarms monthly.
  • Vacuum dust from alarms every six months.
  • Replace batteries once a year. Some alarms have 10 year lithium batteries that do not need replacing every year.
  • Mains powered smoke alarms also have back-up batteries – check with the manufacturer if your model has batteries that need to be replaced regularly, or whether it has a re-chargeable battery.
  • Young children are likely to sleep through the sound of a smoke alarm, so you must alert them to a fire and help them escape to safety.
  • Installation of a smoke alarm is quick and easy. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Generally, because smoke rises, mounting in the middle of the ceiling is recommended.
  • Maximum protection can be gained from interconnecting smoke alarms – when one smoke alarm operates, all connected alarms will operate.
  • All alarms have a use by date of 10 years, after this time, the entire alarm must be replaced.

Where best to position your smoke alarms


Diagram 1


Single Level Homes

Install a photoelectric smoke alarm in every sleeping area (bedroom), hallway and living area.


Multi Level Homes

Install a photoelectric smoke alarm in every sleeping area (bedroom), hallway, living area and on the ceiling at the top of the stairway connecting the levels.

From 1 May 2016 ALL smoke alarms in rental properties are required by law to be either mains powered or have a 10 year non-removable battery.

The tenant and the property owner share responsibility to ensure alarms work.

Property Owner Responsibilities

  • Install either mains powered or 10 year non-removable battery alarms.
  • Clean, test and ensure all alarms are operating prior to new occupancy.
  • Replace back up batteries in mains powered smoke alarms.
  • Replace alarms every 10 years.

Tenant Responsibilities

  • Test and clean alarms.
  • Report faults to owner/manager.
  • Notify owner/manager of any fire safety concerns.

Generally, in a rental property a smoke alarm must be installed in every hallway near a bedroom and on each level of a multi-storey home. These are minimum requirements and owners are encouraged to install additional smoke alarms to increase the level of early warning for tenants in the event of a fire.

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