NEW ZEALAND FIRE SERVICE
We recommend you install long-life photoelectric type smoke alarms in your home. They may cost a little more but the benefits are significant.
• They provide a about 10 years smoke detection.
• They remove the frustration of fixing the ‘flat battery beep’ at inconvenient times such as at 3 in the morning.
• The cost of replacement batteries for standard alarms means the long-life one effectively pays for itself over its lifetime.
• You don’t have to climb ladders every year to replace batteries.
Your best protection is to have photoelectric smoke alarms in every bedroom, living area and hallway in your home. Install them in the middle of the ceiling of each room.
But, at a minimum, you should install one standard long-life photoelectric type alarm in the hallway closest to the bedrooms.
SMOKE ALARMS : TYPES
There are 2 main types of smoke alarm available – ionisation and photoelectric:
Ionisation alarms monitor ions or electrically charged particles in the air. Smoke particles enter the sensing chamber changing the electrical balance of the air. The alarm will sound when the change in the electrical balance reaches a certain level.
Photoelectric alarms (recommended)
Photoelectric alarms have a sensing chamber which uses a beam of light and a light sensor. Smoke particles entering the chamber change the amount of light that reaches the sensor. The alarm sounds when the smoke density reaches a preset level.
Our recommendation for your home
We recommend that you install photoelectric smoke alarms as they provide more effective all-round detection and alarm in all types of fire scenarios and are more likely to alert occupants in time to escape safely.
█ If your home currently only has ionisation alarms installed we recommend that you also install some photoelectric alarms.
Smoke alarms for hearing-impaired
Smoke alarms are available for people with hearing loss. These alarms have extra features such as extra loud and/or lower pitch alarm sounds, flashing strobe lights, or vibrating devices.
Find out more about these alarms and where you can buy them
Australasian standards for smoke alarms
The Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council (AFAC) is the representative body in the Australasian region for fire, emergency services, and land management agencies.
Read the AFAC position on smoke alarms for residential accommodation
█ WHERE TO BUY : Consumer Test (PDF)
Silent Death : Smoke is toxic – and breathing it can kill. So you need an alarm that gives you early warning and more time to escape.
Posted by Elizabeth Kerr
*Image: fire.org.nz – smoke alarms banner