Long-life alarms 'worth cost'

ESTHER ASHBY-COVENTRY
Last updated 05:00 21/07/2014

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It is worth buying the more expensive smoke alarms to stay alive, the fire service in Timaru says.

For the past five years, firefighters have been installing long-life alarms, powered by a lithium battery claimed by its manufacturers to last about 10 years.

Station officer Brian Stone said the long-life alarms cost $30 to $40 but, compared to those that needed batteries replaced every year, the cost was not much different over 10 years.

All alarms had a finite life of up to 10 years and then should be binned, he said.

"Once the battery [in the long-life alarm] dies, you throw the alarm away," Stone said.

One of the benefits of the long-life version was that the mechanism was triggered by slow, smouldering smoke, a feature that was important to wake sleeping occupants.

It is recommended by the fire service that an alarm be placed in any hallway that leads to an external door, living areas and on every level of the house outside each bedroom.

"I have seven in my house but some people can only afford to buy one at a time," Stone said.

The fire service installed alarms for free for residents who could not manage to do it themselves.

"We don't want the elderly climbing and falling. They just need to ring the station."

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- The Timaru Herald

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