Smoke Alarms 2014

The NSW Smoke Alarm Subsidy Scheme is a joint initiative between the Deaf Society of NSW and Fire and Rescue NSW, made possible with funding from the NSW Department of Family and Community Services; Ageing, Disability and Home Care.

The NSW Smoke Alarm Subsidy Scheme (SASS) 2014

The NSW Smoke Alarm Subsidy Scheme is a joint initiative between the Deaf Society of NSW and Fire and Rescue NSW, made possible with funding from the NSW Department of Family and Community Services; Ageing, Disability and Home Care.

The NSW Government is providing the SASS project $2 million over a period of three years. The money will be spent on alarms for people who are deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing.

A standard smoke alarm costs around $50, but a smoke alarm with a strobe light, pillow shaker and beeper can cost around $500, which is cost prohibitive for many people. This is why the NSW government established SASS. The scheme will cover the costs of the alarm; however, you must pay a $50 fee with your application.

In NSW there are laws that cover the use of smoke alarms. All homes must have working smoke alarms. It does not matter if you live in a home you own or rent or live in a caravan, you must have a working smoke alarm. When you are sleeping you cannot smell smoke from a fire. So without a working alarm you are twice as likely to die from a house fire.

To apply for SASS, you must to fill in an application form.

In the application form you need to show that you are either:

profoundly deaf; or severely deaf in the better ear

You can show this with a reference letter or an audiogram and pay a fee of $50. The $50 fee may be waived if you can provide proof of having a valid Centrelink card, a letter from a case manager, or any other information to explain that you can't afford to pay $50.

There are a few different alarms to choose from. There is information provided on each alarm so you can choose the alarm that is best for you. The alarms have been chosen because they are easy to install, so most people will be able to install their own alarm.

If you are over 65, or you have difficulty climbing a ladder to change a light bulb or smoke alarm, or you don't have family or friends to help SASS can offer assistance with installation. There is more detailed information on the Deaf Society of NSW website, but if it is difficult for you to access the internet you can contact us and we will post you the information on DVD.

Applications for the current Round close at the end of June 2014. Please do not wait to apply or you may miss out. The SASS is available for a limited time only, so apply today. You will find all the information in Auslan on the Deaf Society NSW website. It is also available in English.

The videos include:

  • information about the scheme,
  • the alarms you can choose and how to install them,
  • how to fill in the application form, and
  • information about fire safety in your home.
  • If you require a DVD of the information please contact us and we can send you one in the post. You can contact us by phone, TTY, fax or email.

About the Brooks 10-Year Battery Alarm

The Brooks Battery smoke alarm has three parts. The first part is a battery-operated smoke detector which goes on the ceiling. The second part is a strobe light which goes next to the bed. The third part is a vibrating pad which goes under your pillow. If the alarm starts, it will set off the beeping sound, the strobe and vibrating pad at the same time. The smoke detector part is operated by a 10 year lithium battery, so there is no need for you to replace the batteries. By the time the battery runs out you will need to replace the alarm anyway.

The smoke detector part needs to be screwed onto the ceiling. It has a "test / hush" button. To check if it is working, press the "test / hush" button. A red light will flash on the smoke detector, the strobe will flash and the vibrating pad will vibrate. If the alarm goes off when there is no fire you can silence it by pressing the "test / hush" button. A red light flashes every 60 seconds to let you know the smoke detector is working.

The strobe plugs into a power point. It can be put next to the bed or fixed to the wall. The vibrating pad is attached to the strobe. There is a back-up battery in the strobe, so if the electricity goes off it will still work. To let you know the back-up battery is being used, an orange light will flash every four seconds. The back-up battery will only last one week. If the orange light stops flashing it means the back-up battery has run out.

When the strobe is powered by electricity you will know because you will see a green light. If there is a fault, you will see an orange light. When the alarm goes off, you will see a red light.

To test the smoke alarm, you press the "test" button on the strobe. You will see both the strobe and a red light flash. You will also see a blue light flash. The blue light means a signal is being sent to the smoke detector and that the wireless link is working. The strobe does not have a "hush" button. Only the smoke detector (which is on your ceiling) has one.

The good thing about this alarm is that it is portable. You can take it with you when you go on holidays. It is good for people who are renting. If you move house you can take the alarm with you. Also, you can install the alarm yourself.

Installing the Brooks 10-Year Battery Alarm

 

First you need to decide where to put the smoke detector. It is important to know that enough smoke has to enter the smoke detector for it to alert you of a fire. The best place for your smoke detector is between the lounge room or kitchen and the bedroom. Your smoke detector works best when it is no further than 7.5 metres from these areas and where air circulates well, away from corners and recesses. This is because you cannot smell smoke from a fire when you are sleeping.

The smoke alarm has a base plate. Remove it from the smoke detector by twisting it in an anti-clockwise direction. Hold the base plate against the ceiling and mark where you need to drill the holes. Drill two holes. Then use the two screws included to attach the base plate to your ceiling.

When you first receive your smoke alarm the back-up battery needs to be installed in the strobe. Open the back of your strobe by pinching the two tabs, then remove both the panel and the battery underneath. You will notice the battery has a short cable with a connector on the end. Plug the connector into the socket, then put the battery pack with the cut out corner of the battery sitting over the connector. Then replace the back cover. Once the strobe is plugged into a power point you will see a green light.

You need to make sure your smoke detector is connected to your strobe. Press the button on the back of the smoke detector until you see a blue light, then use a paper clip to press the recessed button on the strobe so blue lights flash on both the smoke detector and the strobe. These blue lights will then flash every five seconds. You will notice that they flash twice quickly. This means two pieces of equipment are wirelessly connected. If your lights aren't flashing twice, repeat the connection process.

Once everything is connected press the "test" button on your smoke detector. The strobe should flash and the vibrating pad should vibrate. If this doesn't happen check your wireless connection again. You can then put the smoke detector in the base plate, and then twist in a clockwise direction to secure it.

To make sure the alarm is working properly you should do two

things every month:

  1. dust the detector on your ceiling; and
  2. press the "test" button on the strobe

About the Brooks Wired Alarm

The Brooks Wired smoke alarm has four parts. The first part is a base for the smoke detector which goes on the ceiling and is connected to the mains power supply of the house. The second part is the smoke detector which connects to the base. The third part is a strobe light which is placed next to the bed. The last part is a vibrating pad which is placed under the pillow. If the alarm starts, it will set off a beeping sound, the strobe and vibrating pad all at the same time.

This alarm must be installed by an electrician, so it is only suitable for people who live in a home they own. Any new house built after 2006 must have a mains-powered alarm.

The alarm base plate is wireless. It doesn't have any cables. The wireless base plate needs to be screwed onto the ceiling and connected to mains electricity by a licensed electrician. The base plate has an "on / off" switch. It has a yellow light to show that the wireless connection is working. The smoke detector slides across and locks into the wireless base plate. The smoke detector has a "test / hush" button. When you press the “test / hush” button you should see a red light flashing on the smoke detector. At the same time, the strobe will flash and the pad under your pillow will vibrate. If the alarm goes off when there is no fire, you can silence it by pressing the "test / hush" button. When you see a red light flashing every 60 seconds you know the smoke detector is working.

The strobe plugs into a power point. It can be put next to the bed or fixed to the wall. The vibrating pad is attached to the strobe. There is a back-up battery in the strobe, so if the electricity goes off it will still work. To let you know the back-up battery is being used, an orange light will flash every four seconds. The back-up battery will only last one week. If the orange light stops flashing it means the back-up battery has run out. When the strobe is powered by electricity you will know because you will see a green light. If there is a fault, you will see an orange light.

To test the smoke alarm, press the "test" button on the strobe. You will see both the strobe and a red light flash. You will also see a blue light flash on the strobe. The blue light means a signal is being sent to the smoke detector and that the wireless link is working. The strobe does not have a "hush" button, only the smoke detector (which is on your ceiling) has one.

Installing the Brooks Wired Alarm

First you need to decide where to put the smoke detector. It is important to know that enough smoke has to enter the smoke detector for it to alert you of a fire. The best place for your smoke detector is between the lounge room or kitchen and the bedroom. Your smoke detector works best when it is no further than 7.5 metres from these areas and where air circulates well, away from corners and recesses. This is because you cannot smell smoke from a fire when you are sleeping.

The smoke detector has a wireless base plate. You need a qualified electrician to install the wireless base plate on the ceiling and connect it to the electricity. You must wirelessy connect the base plate to the strobe before finally locking the smoke detector in place. Your smoke detector slides and locks into the base plate.

When you first receive your smoke alarm the back-up battery needs to be installed in the strobe. Open the back of your strobe by pinching the two tabs, then remove both the panel and the battery underneath. You will notice the battery has a short cable with a connector on the end. Plug the connector into the socket, then put the battery back with the cut out corner of the battery sitting over the connector. Then replace the back cover. You can charge the battery for your strobe the night before you install your smoke alarm. When it is fully charged and the strobe is plugged into a power point you will see a green light.

You need to make sure the strobe is connected to your wireless base plate for the smoke detector. Press the "on" button on the base plate so that the back-up battery is switched on, then press the tab until the yellow light flashes. Then use a paper clip to press the recessed button on the strobe so the blue light flashes. Both the yellow and blue lights will flash every five seconds. You will notice that they flash twice quickly. This means the two pieces of equipment are wirelessly connected. If your lights aren't flashing twice, repeat this connection process.

Once everything is connected, hold your smoke detector against the wireless base and slide it across so it locks in place. Press the "test" button on your smoke detector. The strobe should flash and the vibrating pad should vibrate. If this doesn't happen, check your wireless connection again.

To make sure the alarm is working properly you should do two things every month:

  1. dust the detector on your ceiling; and
  2. press the "test" button on the strobe

About the Mains Smokie Alarm

The Mains Smokie alarm has three parts. The first part is a mains-operated smoke detector which is screwed to the ceiling. It is connected to the second part, a control unit which includes a strobe light. The third part is a vibrating pad which goes under your pillow. When the alarm detects smoke it will set off a loud beeping sound, the strobe and vibrating pad. A red light will also glow on the control unit.

The smoke detector is powered by the control unit. The smoke detector and the control unit are connected by 10 metres of cable. The smoke detector needs to be screwed to the ceiling. It has a "test" button. When you press the "test" button, the alarm will sound and you will see a red light flash on the smoke detector. At the same time, the strobe will flash and the vibrating pad will vibrate. When you see a red light flashing on the smoke detector every 40 or 50 seconds you know the alarm is working.

The second part is the control unit, which includes the strobe. It plugs into a power point. It has an "on / off" switch. It can be put next to the bed on a table or shelf, or it can be fixed to the wall. The vibrating pad is attached to the control unit. There is a back-up battery in the control unit so if the electricity goes off it will still work. The back-up battery will only last 3 days if no mains power is connected. You will know when it is being powered by electricity because you will see a green light. If the electricity is not working, this same light will change to red. When the alarm detects smoke you will also see a second red indicator light.

To test the smoke alarm you press the "test" button on the control unit. You will see the alarm indicator glow red, the strobe will flash and the vibrating pad will vibrate at the same time. The back-up battery is automatically monitored. To manually test the back-up battery, disconnect the mains power. The power indicator light will change from green to red. Press and hold the control unit "test" button for 20 seconds. If the red power light goes out during the test it means the battery is in low condition or needs servicing. The back-up battery has a normal lifespan of five years before requiring replacement.

If the alarm is triggered and there is no evidence of smoke around or near the detector, then the Mains Smokie has detected an internal fault.

This fault may be:

  1. a low battery;
  2. a detector or detector-wiring fault; or
  3. a vibrator or vibrator-wiring fault.

Check all connections and wiring, and clean any dust from the smoke detector. If the power indicator changes from green to red check that power is available at the power point, the power point is switched on, and that the power adaptor is properly plugged into the power point.

The good thing about this alarm is that it is portable. You can take it with you on holidays. It is good for people who are renting. If you move house, you can take the alarm with you. You can also install the alarm yourself.

Installing the Mains Smokie Alarm

When planning where to place your control unit and smoke detector bear in mind that the cables are 10 meters long and cannot be extended.

When planning where to put your detector, the best place is between the lounge room or kitchen and in the bedroom. Your smoke detector works best when it is no more than 7.5 metres from a fire, and where air circulates well, away from corners. Make sure it is not far from the bedroom. This is because you cannot smell smoke from a fire when you are sleeping. You will also need to think about how you will attach the cable to your wall and ceiling.

The cable is connected with screw terminals at each end so it can be disconnected and reconnected to make installation simpler. You may use hooks or something similar, but please make sure you do not cut or puncture the cables. There is no danger of electric shock as this alarm uses a low voltage system with a power transformer.

The smoke alarm has a base plate. Remove it from the smoke detector by twisting it in an anti-clockwise direction. Hold the base plate against the ceiling and mark where you need to drill the holes. Use the two screws included to attach the base plate to your ceiling. Put the smoke detector into the base plate then twist in a clockwise direction.

Once everything is connected, turn the control unit on using the master "on / off" sliding switch. Then press the "test" button on your control unit. The alarm indicator should glow red, the strobe should flash and the vibrating pad should vibrate. If this doesn't happen check your connections again and check that the power is on.

When it is working, put the vibrating pad inside your pillow case. For added security, feed the vibrating pad cable through a safety pin attached to the pillow case or sheet.

Remember, you should check the alarm every month to make sure it is working.

You can do this by:

  1. dusting the detector on your ceiling: and
  2. pressing the "test" button on the detector

Apply

» Apply Online

Download Application Form

Copies of the SASS application form are available in Braille. Please contact the Deaf Society of NSW to request a copy.

Contact details

Smoke Alarm Subsidy Scheme Project Coordinator

The Deaf Society of NSW
TTY: (02) 8833 3691
Ph: (02) 8833 3600
Fax: (02) 8833 3699
Email: smokealarms@deafsociety.com