Alarms and Smoke Detectors.

The reason I am a strong supporter of alarms is that they will watch your house night and day and they will do so very cheaply. They will not get tired, get the flu, go on strike, or moan about their duties.

The two biggest problems with residential/commercial alarms are:

1. People becoming complacent and not using them.

2. People failing to rectify regular false alarms.

Your neighbours, if approached correctly, will be happy to check your house for you or view it from a distance when they hear your alarm sounding. Tell them to ring the Police if they suspect something is wrong.

They will however soon get sick of false alarms and will carry on watching television or whatever if your alarm constantly sounds. Rectify all false alarms promptly and apologise and inform your neighbours that the problem should now be fixed.

Modern alarms are very reliable and have many features. Many can guard certain areas of your house at night-time and it must be remembered that many burglaries in New Zealand have been committed while people are asleep in their homes.

Most brands have a “senior watch” feature which when enabled will alert you to the fact that your elderly parent/friend has not moved in their house for a certain time. Perhaps they have taken a fall?

A great thing about burglar alarms is they may prevent you from having to take other security measures in your home. For example, it may not be necessary to change old locks and remove louvre windows because if an intruder got into your house by these means, the alarm would catch them out anyway. Another example if you do forget to lock a door one night, but religiously set your alarm before retiring, again, the intruder will still be caught out. I am not saying you can be complacent, but you will be naturally protected to a greater level with the alarm.

Professionally installed alarms can also have smoke detectors fitted and there was a case in Hawera recently where an alarm company notified the Fire Brigade that a smoke detector had gone off in a house. The Fire Brigade attended and caught the fire in its infancy and was able to save the house from serious damage!

If you have had your burglar alarm installed professionally you should also check with your insurance company, as many offer a reduction in premiums.

Many people state they cannot afford an alarm and many of these people do have other luxuries that they could perhaps do without. Make an alarm in your house a priority.

If you ask any person who has been burgled you will learn how devastating it is. If you ask any person who has a burglar alarm installed in their house they will tell you how much better they feel, particularly when returning home, to know that no one could have been in their house.

Whether or not you have it monitored is up to you. In an urban area with good neighbours, it may not be necessary. In a more remote setting it may be a good idea.

When burglars drive down a street and see an alarm box on the front of a house they are likely to ignore this house and go to another. I know this from talking to burglars!

Fake alarm boxes by themselves are risky, as people climbing over back fences commit some burglaries.

I can assure you that if you invest in an alarm you will find you get considerable peace of mind and greater quality of life.

Smoke Alarms

Regulations state that if you are building or renovating a home, smoke detectors must be installed.

Battery ones are permissible so long as they have a “hush feature” which many of them don’t. A recent letter to the editor pointed out the silly-ness of allowing battery ones, who enforces the level of charge in the battery? That is, you could have them with no batteries in, who would know??

The smoke detectors can be installed in bedrooms or within three meters of each bedroom, and must also be installed in exit routes that may become blocked by fire and prevent escape. This would be stairways and passages. They must also be produce 60db of noise to the bedroom if installed outside the bedroom and the bedroom door is enclosed.

Until recently I had six 9 volt battery smoke detectors in my house. I recently replaced them with six hard wired smoke detectors. People thought I was mad putting in six, but my family is important to me. A fire could start in any room, not just the kitchen! It is a case of priority. Also, the internal sirens will sound which is way higher than the beeping/squawking of a $9.95 detector.

Another reason I changed mine is that the other ones would chirp at 2.00 am to say they are going flat, not 2.00 pm, but 2.00 am! Also, if you go on holiday, how do you know the batteries are o.k. when you return? Checking them at daylight savings time as recommended is not really good enough.

It is now comforting to know that I will never need to change the batteries in them, and it is also good to know that they are fully supervised. If anything goes wrong with them the alarm keypad will indicate the problem. Further, the problem will be communicated to the monitoring firm who monitoring your alarm if you elected this option with your alarm.


Irrespective of this new regulation, irrespective of whether or not you are renovating or building, get good quality smoke detectors in. The “cheapy” fire detectors at $9.95 are just that. Cheap.

Please contact me if you have any queries in relation to this matter and if you would like a no obligation quote to get your house sorted.