Smoke Signals

I’m sure by now everyone has heard the phrase “Smoke alarms save lives!” and we all have at least one smoke alarm in our home. It’s true that smoke alarms DO save lives however, just like any other household appliance, they do wear out, they need to be maintained and they need to be regularly tested (and setting it off occasionally when you burn the toast doesn’t count).

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Hands up if you’ve been woken up in the middle of the night to the repetitive beeping of a smoke alarm that’s battery is running out? I know I have on several occasions. It’s annoying! Now hands up again who has got sick of the beeping and pulled the device down, removed the battery and shoved it in a cupboard to stop the beeping … if you are guilt of this, give yourself a slap on the wrist!

A smoke alarm is something that we all hope, touch wood, we never actually need to rely on. But; in the unlikely event that there is a fiQuestion mark pictures of questions marks clipart clipartingre, this tiny little plastic device that sometimes annoys you with its constant beeping could be the one thing standing between a lucky escape and tragedy.

So on that note; are all smoke alarms the same? Do you need a hard wired one or will the $10 one from Bunnings do the trick? How long do they last? How do I test my smoke alarm (other than burning the toast)? Are there different types of smoke alarms? How many smoke alarms do I need in my home?

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It is law in NSW that Landlords must install and maintain smoke alarms according to the standards in the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000. As Property Managers, it is our responsibility to ensure that all our rental properties meet the requirements of the law regarding smoke alarms. Smoke Alarms Australia offer an outstanding service that we recommend all our landlords subscribe to. For an annual fee, they will monitor and maintain all smoke alarms in the rental property including inspections at the beginning of each tenancy, replacement batteries, replacement devices (when necessary), reporting on the life span of the devices and attending properties if faults are reported. As a landlord myself, I think this is a no brainer. Peace of mind for you, your tenants and your property manager.

Their website is also full of useful advice on fire safety. This week they shared an article on the different types of smoke alarms and which is safer. I always thought ‘a smoke alarm is a smoke alarm’ so I was surprised to read that they are different.


Ionization alarms are essentially radioactive sniffer dogs. Ionization alarms are known as a ‘smelling’ alarm as the smoke needs to fill the chamber and be sensed by the ion cycle to trigger the alarm in the same manner as needing an odour to fill your nostrils for your body to register a smell.

Photoelectric alarms are the eyes of the house when it comes to smoke detection. Photoelectric alarms are the ‘seeing’ alarms as they sense fires through light and interference of lights pathways, similar to how we notice items when they are put within our line of sight.

Read the full article and find out which is safer by clicking here


Here’s a few helpful videos from the team at Bunnings


Smoke Alarm Fact Sheet for Tenants in NSW

NSW Fire & Rescue