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Fire safety and smoke alarms

Preventing household fires and making sure your smoke alarms are working

Smoke alarms

Why do I need a smoke alarm in my home?

In NSW, all homes and units are required by law to have smoke alarms because they help to protect your life and your property. Smoke alarms are early warning systems that detect smoke and fires and sound a warning alarm – for this reason smoke alarms should not be removed or damaged.

Smoke alarms in FACS managed properties are connected to the house or unit’s wiring system. The alarms are usually mounted in a high position and may be located in the living room, hallway or bedrooms.

You will notice two different lights on your smoke alarm:

  • a steady green light which indicates that the alarm is being powered
  • a red light that flashes once a minute to indicate that the alarm is working.

What should I do if the alarm goes off?

If your smoke alarm goes off and you smell smoke, everyone should leave the property immediately. Once outside, phone 000 and report the fire.

Smoke alarms can sometimes be triggered by cooking smoke or steam from showers. This can be prevented by ensuring there is enough ventilation when cooking, showering or smoking. If the alarm is triggered by these activities, you can stop the beeping by pressing the hush button on the alarm or fanning away the smoke or steam.

If the power to your property is turned off, you will hear a short beep every few seconds. When the power is first connected to the alarm, it may sound for two to three seconds and continue to beep once every 40 seconds for around 10 minutes. This is normal.

If a smoke alarm sounds regularly for no clear reason, or you think it is not working properly, contact us. Community housing tenants must contact their provider directly.

How do I look after my smoke alarm?

Do not remove or interfere with any parts of the smoke alarm – it’s against the law.

The smoke alarm will be inspected and checked annually by a contractor and arrangements will be made with you to organise this. Please ensure you give entry to the contractor as the service check is required by law and will ensure your smoke alarm is still working properly.

You can test the alarm by pressing and holding the button until it beeps.

Do not attempt to open the alarm as it is connected to the main power supply and could give you an electric shock. The standby battery in the alarm should last for five to ten years and does not fit into any other electrical appliance.

Carefully vacuum the smoke alarm several times a year to remove dust, cobwebs or insects.

Insects may be attracted to smoke alarms and can trigger the alarm. If this occurs, spray the ceiling around the alarm with insect surface spray. Never spray the alarm directly.

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