500 smoke alarms donated to Northland homes

By Jessica Tyson

The first of 1,500 donated smoke alarms are being installed by Fire and Emergency in a home in Whangarei today.

The alarms have been donated from AMI to mark the start of a daylight saving campaign, reminding people to check their alarms when they put their clocks forward.

Fire and Emergency’s Northland area manager Wipari Henwood says the first 500 alarms will be installed in Northland as part of home fire safety visits by Fire and Emergency, Habitat for Humanity and iwi organisations.

"Northland has many remote, isolated communities.  By partnering with these organisations we are able to help people that we would not otherwise be able to reach to protect themselves.”

Henwood says in the past five and a half years almost two-thirds of the 659 house fires in Northland occurred in homes without working smoke alarms.

AMI’s community engagement manager Eve Whitwell says the insurer is proud to donate the smoke alarms to such a good cause.

"Every year we hear from customers about how devastating house fires can be and the important role smoke alarms play in keeping your whānau safe.  We strongly recommend everyone checks their smoke alarms are working so we can help make New Zealand safer."

The remainder of the donated alarms will be distributed throughout the country through the home fire safety visit programme.

Important information:

For optimum smoke detection, alarms should be installed in every bedroom, living area and hallway in a house.

At an absolute minimum they should be installed in the hallway closest to the bedrooms and supplemented, as soon as possible, with other alarms.

There are two main types of smoke alarm; ionisation and photo-electric.

Fire and Emergency recommends people install long-life photoelectric smoke alarms because:

  • They detect smouldering fires more quickly
  • They provide up to 10 years smoke detection
  • They remove the frustration of fixing the "flat battery beep"
  • People don’t have to climb ladders every year to replace batteries;
  • Although photoelectric alarms can be more expensive initially, they pay for themselves over time because people don’t have to buy replacement batteries.