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Change your clocks and check your smoke alarms

27 September 2013

Change your clocks and check your smoke alarms

When you move your clocks forward on Sunday for the Daylight Saving change, test your smoke alarms at the same time to make sure they are working.

“Smoke alarms save lives. When we attend a fatal house fire, we almost always find there was either no smoke alarm installed or no working alarm -– which is as good as not having any at all, said Fire Risk Management National Advisor, Todd O’Donoghue,

“We want people to use Daylight Saving as a reminder to check that their smoke alarms are still working and if not, replace the alarm or the batteries.”

There are two main types of smoke alarms on the market: photoelectric which picks up smouldering fires; and ionisation which detects fast flaming fires. Photoelectric alarms are less likely to activate nuisance alarms.

Long-life versions of both photoelectric and ionisation smoke alarms are available. Some brands have a built-in battery that cannot be removed or replaced—and will last up to 10 years. This type can be particularly useful for home rental properties.

Ordinary smoke alarms have a life of three to 10 years, depending on the brand, and the batteries need regular testing and replacing.

The New Zealand Fire Service recommends long-life photoelectric smoke alarms as the best form of fire protection for families.

“The advantage of long life alarms is that you never need to change the battery, so they work out cheaper over the life of the alarm and take less effort to maintain. There’s also no temptation to take out the battery and use if for something else.”

“So when you buy your new smoke alarms, start buying the long life smoke alarms with the non-replaceable battery. You’ll be better off,” said Mr O’Donoghue.


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