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Smoke Alarms

One of the most important fire safety devices for the home is the smoke alarm. Several studies have concluded that when working smoke alarms are present, the chance of dying from the fire is reduced. The smoke alarms currently in place have saved many lives, but several problems exist:

  • First, the 12% of homes without alarms have more than half fires;
  • Second, it is estimated that a third of the smoke alarms in place are not often working due to failure to replace a worn out battery;
  • And third, many homes have as many alarms as are needed to protect the occupants properly.
    SMOKE from fire is toxic, only early warning can help give your family vital time to escape a smoke filled room.

Also, when asleep you will not smell the smoke from a fire - in fact the smoke will put you into deeper sleep. A smoke alarm can provide the early warning you need and is the critical first step in your home safety plan.

What are the types of smoke alarms available?

There are hard wired [connected to mains with a battery back-up] or battery powered smoke alarms available. There are models available for use in the kitchen and for those with special needs such as hearing impaired. Models incorporating an emergency light are also available.

What type should you use?

  • Every house or home unit has a suitable number of working smoke alarms installed.
  • There should be smoke alarms on every level of your home.
  • Only the NFA approved alarms are to be used.
  • Hard wired alarms must be fitted by a qualified electrician.
  • Smoke alarms must be installed according to manufacturer's instructions.
  • All smoke alarms must be tested regularly and at least once a month.
  • You should replace the battery in each smoke alarm at least once a year.
  • Alarms should be replaced as recommended because they have a limited lifespan.
  • To be effective, smoke alarms must be cleaned regularly.
  • Interconnected alarms activating at the same time are recommended if you have children.

What else should you do to make your home fire safe?

  • You need to have a plan which covers what to do when the smoke alarm goes off and warns you of a fire.
  • Your household should prepare a written escape plan and practice it regularly.
  • Heavy sleepers such as children or those affected by alcohol or drugs may not be woken up by the sound of the alarm. Make sure this contingency is covered in your home escape plan.


  • Remember that smoke from a fire can confuse you and that you cannot see in smoke.
  • If you have escaped from a home fire, remember to stay out and dial 911 immediately.
  • Let your children understand fire escape planning and practice before holding a fire escape drill
  • If anyone in your home has hearing or mobility problems make sure that they are accounted for and if necessary appoint someone to help them escape.
  • Home fire safety is important for the whole family and preparation can prevent tragedy.


  • Check how many smoke alarms needed in your home/business?
  • What kind of smoke alarms to get?
  • How should it be installed?
  • Are you able to hear your alarm?

Established by virtue of the National Fire Service Act, 1994 the National Fire Authority assumed responsibilities to provide fire services for the entire nation of Fiji in February 1995.


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