Fire Awareness

How do I know what type of smoke alarm I have?

The most simple check you could do is to open up your alarm and check whether or not it has a radiation symbol inside. If your smoke alarm DOES have a radiation symbol - you have an ionisation alarm and it should be replaced. Photoelectric alarms look like other alarms, but they do not have a radiation symbol inside of them.


Another way to know whether or not you have an ionisation alarm is whether it false alarms when you are cooking. If your alarm false alerts when you are cooking, unfortunately, you have an ionisation. An ionisation smoke alarm is a heat detecter - the heat from your cooking will set off this alarm but it will not detect a smoulder. 


The chart below may give you a better understanding:

It is important to understand that there are two stages to a fire - not two types! A photoelectric smoke alarm is more likely to alert occupants in time to escape safely from the start of a smoulder to when the flame erupts. We are trying to mandate photoelectric smoke alarms as they give an earlier warning of smouldering fires, than other kinds of alarms. Research by the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council indicates that photoelectric smoke alarms provide the best detection across a broader range of fires and are more likely to alert occupants in time to escape safely. For more information about photoelectric alarms, visit our Smoke Alarms page. 




What kind of smoke alarm should I have?

There is a house fire in the state of QLD every 4.63 hours. We can limit that by educating people to be more aware of their surroundings within the home. Fires can cause serious injury or death, it is especially important to understand that children are most likely at risk when it comes to a potential fire hazard. There are many things that you can do within your home to reduce the chance of a fire, some are listed below:


  • Kitchen fires are a major issue - don't stop looking while you're cooking!
  • Electrical fire - check your appliances regularly. It is important to ensure that you are not overloading power boards. ​Also make sure that you are not covering electrical cords under mats. The Fire Safety at Home booklet (FPA) states that faulty or damaged electrical wiring throughout the house and in home appliances can start dangerous fires.
  • ​Make sure candles are not left unattended and that they are extinguished when you leave the room.
  • Keep lighters and matches stored in a high place to ensure children cannot reach them. If in reach, they may result in a serious fire and can certainly injure themselves and others. (FPA, The Fire Safety at Home Booklet). Teach children that lighters and matches are a tool - not a toy.
  • Smokers - extinguish the butts as they are likely to ignite fires at home.


Every home should have fire safety equipment that can be used to limit the destruction of a fire, if one is to ignite within your home. Some examples of fire safety equipment within your home are:


  • ​Photoelectric Smoke Alarms
  • Fire Blankets (it may be better to buy a fire blanket that will cover your whole body when having to extinguish a fire, as this will reduce the chance of getting injured by flame).
  • Portable Fire Extinguishers.






What can I do to reduce the likelihood of a fire in my home?