Hire Rite Safety Series – Smoke Alarms


All too often the Hire Rite team are called out at short notice to install make safe temporary fencing to homes that have experienced house fires.  Just in the last few weeks alone, we’ve attended several properties where the homes have been completely destroyed by fire.

The good news is that nobody was hurt, and all occupants were able to get out quickly and safely because they were woken immediately by their smoke alarms.

Smoke Alarms Save Lives

Having witnessed the destruction that a house fire can cause, we cannot stress enough how important it is to have fully functional smoke alarms installed to keep you and your family safe.

Smoke alarms save lives… But only if they are working!

Since the 1st of May 2006 it has been law in NSW (Under Division 7A of Part 9 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000) that smoke alarms must be installed in all buildings in NSW where people sleep. If you have a two-story dwelling, a minimum of one smoke alarm must be located on each level.

Smoke Alarm Types

  1. Photoelectric vs Ionisation

There are two main types of smoke alarms…. Photoelectric and Ionisation.

Photoelectric have been found to be the most effective for house fires as they are best at detecting smoky and smouldering fires. Ionisation alarms, on the other hand, are better at detecting fast fires that don’t emit much smoke. Steam can tend to set Ionisation alarms off and so they should not be located near kitchens or bathrooms.

If you were to choose between the two, photoelectric is the best one to use in the home as studies have shown the alarms sounds within 3 to 5 minutes with a photoelectric alarm compared to up to 20 minutes for Ionisation. And when it comes to house fires, every second counts!?

  1. Hard-wired vs battery operated

There are also two options when it comes to powering your smoke alarms. Hard wired and battery operated.

Hard-wired smoke alarms are connected to the homes main power supply (with battery backup should you lose power). These alarms are generally more reliable as that have a constant power supply, however, they do cost more to install initially as you will need to hire a qualified Electrician to complete the install.

Hard-wired alarms also have the option of being interconnecting, which means that if one alarm sounds they all sound. This may be helpful if you have a particularly large or sectional house.

Battery operated smoke alarms, on the other hand, are powered by batteries alone. This means that the batteries need to be installed correctly and working properly in order for the alarm to work correctly. They are generally cheaper to buy and install and it’s easier for you to add extra alarms if you feel it’s necessary.

When choosing a smoke alarm you do need to consider the costs and reliability. If you don’t want to outlay the cost of installing hard-wired alarms but you feel uneasy about the reliability of battery-operated alarms you could consider long life battery powered smoke alarms.

Relatively new to the market, long life battery powered smoke alarms are fitted with a non-removable long life lithium battery. These batteries are guaranteed to last 10 years without the need to replace the battery.

They are a happy compromise between hard-wired and removable battery alarms and come with the added benefit of not having an annoying beep every time the battery needs replacing. Depending on the models you buy, these alarms can also come fitted with voice alarms and emergency lighting to assist all occupants to leave the home quickly and easily.

House fires can be absolutely devastating. Even more so if it results in injury or death. So make sure your smoke alarms are working, and you check them regularly because they do save lives.

Hire Rite Temporary Fence – Newcastle: (02) 4956 9060 | Central Coast: (02) 4311 9133 | Sydney: (02) 8332 1640 | Wollongong: (02) 4225 0176


Why Hire Rite

0 +
Years Experience
0 +
KM of Temporary Fencing Installed
0 +
Happy Clients