As we know, working smoke alarms give people an early alert to fire in their home, and that early alert gives them the best chance of escaping alive. 

Fire and Emergency New Zealand’s Fire Knowledge & Communications Monitor shows that 87%* of NZ homes claim to have at least one working smoke alarm. We need to maintain this with regular public reminders to check smoke alarms have been working. 

For well over 10 years, Fire and Emergency New Zealand have run ads throughout the year reminding NZers of the importance of working smoke alarms (‘You’re Only Voice’, and before that ‘Precious’), and twice a year activated the entire country to ‘check your smoke alarms are working now’ over daylight savings weekend. 

Today, we know that simply testing the ‘beep’ is not enough. There are two additional behaviours required to keep NZ’s smoke alarms working properly; check the expiration date; and clean your alarm with a vacuum cleaner. 

Where testing the ‘beep’ is as quick and easy as pressing a button, the new behaviours are a bit more complex to explain, and a bit more difficult for people to do. 

So how do we effectively add in the ‘clean’ and ‘check’ instructions, without ending up in the ‘too-hard basket’?

We will continue to run the ‘Your Only Voice’ campaign throughout the year to keep the importance of working smoke alarms in people’s minds (this may be reviewed after 30th June 2018). We will also continue to activate smoke alarm maintenance behaviour each daylight saving weekend …but in order to be most effective, we will focus on just one new behaviour each daylight saving, alternating between ‘check the expiration date’ in autumn and ‘clean your smoke alarm’ in spring.

Focusing on just one message at a time will increase the chance of our audience comprehending the message, and decrease the chance of the behaviour being perceived as complex and difficult.

So our overall message about smoke alarms is that you should ‘clean, check and test’ to make sure they’re working properly …and this message will be drip-fed throughout the year.

Daylight Saving is on April 1st, there will be specific expiration date messaging placements on radio and social media and ‘Your Only Voice’ and ‘Escape Planner’ advertising running on television around the Daylight Saving period.

*87% is taken from the most recent Q4 2017 Fire Knowledge & Communications Monitor survey results

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