Does your home have working smoke alarms?

Smoke alarm, house and building plans

The best warning devices you can have in your home are working smoke alarms.

As the cooler weather rolls in, many of us turn to our wood heater, clothes dryer, electric blanket and wheat-filled heat packs for practical comfort – but they also come with a real risk of fire. There could be a build-up of soot in your chimney or lint in your dryer; your electric blanket could have developed a fault, or you overheat your heat pack in the microwave.

How do smoke alarms work?

Smoke alarms detect toxic smoke that can cause serious injury and potential death. Early detection provides you and your family with the opportunity to evacuate safely from your home.

What are the different types?

Smoke alarms can either be wireless, or wired into your electricity. Always check the manufacturer’s instructions that come with the alarm when you purchase it. These provide the best information about installation and maintenance.

You will need to book an electrician to install wired-in alarms but you can replace the back-up battery yourself.

Wireless alarms can be easily installed directly onto your ceiling.

The 10-year inbuilt lithium battery type of wireless alarms are definitely worth considering.  As long as you check and clean it regularly, you don’t need to change the battery – and at around $35 each they are very cost-effective.

Thank you to the Tasmania Fire Service for providing us with the following hints and tips:
  • All smoke alarms have a use-by date of 10 years. After this time, the entire alarm must be replaced. Look on the back of your alarms to see a manufacture date or a replace-by date.
  • If you have wireless lead/alkaline battery type alarms, you should replace them with alarms that have an inbuilt, 10-year lithium battery.
  • Install a smoke alarm in every bedroom, the hallway, living area and at the top of a staircase if you have one. Locating them in the middle of the ceiling is best, as smoke rises.
  • These smoke alarms should be interconnected so that when one goes off, they all go off – giving you and your family the earliest possibly warning.
  • If you have a personal alarm that is already connected to a telephone and your door bell, it may also be able to be connected to a specialised smoke alarm. Talk to your alarm provider or an assistive technology business if you would like more information.
  • If you are hearing-impaired and take your hearing aids out at night to sleep, you can purchase a smoke alarm for your bedroom that has been specially designed to alert you to a fire.
  • Young children and are likely to sleep through the sound of a smoke alarm. If you have grandchildren staying you must keep this in mind and alert them to a fire at once.
Regular maintenance is essential

Your smoke alarms should be tested monthly and have any dust and cobwebs removed every six months. The easiest way to do this is with a vacuum cleaner.

Your Anglicare worker can check and clean your smoke alarms if they can do this safely while standing on the floor.

 A special warning on heat packs

You should never use a wheat-filled heat pack to warm your bedding, or store it before it has cooled down. If yours doesn’t come with clear heating instructions, discard it.

More information?

Visit the ‘Home Fire Safety’ section of the Tasmania Fire Service website at www.fire.tas.gov.au for more information. They also have a free call information line: 1800 000 699.

Always phone Triple Zero (000) if there’s an emergency.

Enquire onlineContact us

Please fill in this form and a representative of Anglicare will reply to your message within two working days. Be sure to provide your complete contact details so we can respond to you.

Click the button below to visit our contact page

Contact us

Or, phone us on

1800 243 232