Smoke alarms
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Smoke alarms

Firefighter holding a smoke alarm

Only working smoke alarms save lives.

Tips to keep your smoke alarm in working order:

  • Install photo-electric smoke alarms
  • Use long-lasting 9V alkaline batteries in your smoke alarm to ensure year-round protection
  • Test smoke alarms once a month. The alarm should produce a loud "beep beep beep beep" sound when you press the test button using a broom handle
  • Use the brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner to dust the smoke alarm every six months
  • Smoke alarms have a ten year life span. Replace all smoke alarms - both battery powered and 240v hard-wired - every ten years (the year of manufacture is displayed on the alarm)
  • Purchase smoke alarms that meet Australian Standards. Look for the AS3786 marking
  • Help your elderly family, friends and neighbours to make sure their smoke alarm is working

Waiting until the smoke alarm beeps before you change the battery is too late - this indicates that the battery is already flat, and your family is not protected.

What to do if you are renting

Renters are responsible for regularly testing and cleaning their smoke alarms. If there are any issues, contact your landlord.

Do your kids know what to do when the smoke alarm goes off?

Simple actions like getting down low and crawling under smoke save lives, and every family should have a home fire escape plan that identifies all possible escape routes.

Smoke alarms for the deaf and hard of hearing

Special smoke alarms are available for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. These feature a flashing strobe light and a vibrating pad that can be placed under the pillow to activate when the alarm sounds.

These smoke alarms can link with standard smoke alarms to alert all household members, regardless of hearing levels. When one alarm senses smoke, all the alarms will activate.

Other models include portable units that can be taken from one residence to another.


Profoundly deaf people can apply for a smoke alarm subsidy to help cover the costs of visual and vibrating smoke alarms.

For further details visit the VicDeaf website.

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