Fire Safety

SABRE – Smoke Alarm and Battery REplacement

[st_box title=”FACT” type=”info”]Fire & Rescue NSW (FRNSW) statistics suggest that seniors (people aged 65 and over) are the highest fire fatality risk group in the community. In the last five years, one in three fire-related deaths in NSW have been from this age group (Source: FRNSW FIRU, March 2012). Given their high risk, it is vital that seniors have a working smoke alarm to provide an early warning of fire and time to safely escape.[/st_box]

What is the SABRE Program?

The Smoke Alarm and Battery Replacement (SABRE) program assists seniors and people with a disability who are vulnerable in the case of a fire because they are not able to install and/or maintain their smoke alarms.

Firefighters can visit the residence at an arranged time to install a battery-operated smoke alarm or replace existing smoke alarm batteries at no cost. The resident must supply the battery-operated smoke alarm or batteries. Firefighters can provide safety advice while visiting premises.


Residents who have limited domestic support (no access to family, friends or neighbours who can assist) and are living in their own or privately rented home in FRNSW fire district are eligible for the program. Examples are:

    • frail aged people (aged over 65),
    • people with disabilities,


  • people who are already receiving community assistance and services.

How can I Access the Program?

Eligible residents should contact their local fire station on an annual basis to get assistance. If your smoke alarm ‘chirps’ earlier, this may indicate a low battery level. Look up your local FRNSW fire station number in the Government Section of the White Pages or by following this link: Contact details – Fire & Rescue NSW. Alternatively, contact 1800 151 614.

Smoke alarm safety tips

To keep your smoke alarm in good working order:

  • Test it once a month by pressing the test button until the alarm sounds,
  • Clean it with your vacuum cleaner every six months to remove dust,
  • Change the battery once a year (unless it’s a ten-year lithium battery), and
  • Replace the whole unit every ten years.

* Note: Limited domestic support means those persons without family, relatives or friends who are able to assist.

Fire & Rescue NSW Community Risk Management. Revised 22 June 2006.


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