Fire safety, alarms and alerts

An effective smoke alarm must be able to wake you up.

Why not use a standard smoke alarm?

Standard smoke alarms beep at high frequency, which is beyond the range of many with hearing loss. Another limitation is that each alarm works separately: it doesn’t send messages to others in the house.

iStock 000021804591Medium

Doorbells and alerts

Can’t hear the doorbell, or your baby crying? Alerting devices that flash lights, vibrate, chime or make a sonic boom can tell you when the phone or doorbell rings. They can warn you if your baby is crying or the fire alarm goes off. They include pagers, cellphones and vibrating pads that you can put under your pillow at night.

Some doorbells have tunes for different hearing ranges. Some are wireless, with batteries you can carry with you or have on a table or walking frame. Check your hardware store for products that sell for as little as $10. A hearing therapist can advise on what will suit your budget.

Specialist products include flashing or vibrating smoke alarms, bed shakers, pagers and strobe lights.

P13 WiFi 2

Wireless, interconnected systems for your house are now available.

Fire safety

Fire safety can be challenging for people with hearing loss, so it is crucial to have alarms or an alerting system you can rely on.

The Fire and Emergency New Zealand website gives detailed advice on fire safety for the hard of hearing. It also gives product information and links to manufacturers who supply alarm systems.

Contact your local fire station for advice on smoke alarms. The staff will assist you free of charge. Find a station in your region.

Download their Practical Guide to Fire Safety

Contact Fire and Emergency: 
Online contact form
Fire and Emergency NZ Facebook page 

Systems for those with hearing loss

Where to buy

You usually need to order specialised products. Full details and links to suppliers are on the Fire and Emergency NZ website


Depending on your situation, you may qualify for funding for a smoke alarm system.

Three agencies offer help: LIFE Unlimited (hearing therapists), Deaf Aotearoa and Housing New Zealand.

The Hearing Association

The Hearing Association offers help and information about safety equipment. You can buy many of the devices online from Hearing Association offices in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. To find a local branch visit their website.

See also

Personal assistive devices
TXT 111 emergency service

THANKS TO: Quin Webster of Fire and Emergency NZ and Jacqui Taylor of LIFE Unlimited