Northland homes are among the first to receive free fire alarms in a safety campaign to coincide with the beginning of daylight saving.

It is hoped the donation by insurance company AMI will turn around statistics showing that of 659 house fires in Northland over the past five and a half years, 440 were in homes without working smoke alarms

Fire and Emergency New Zealand's Northland area manager Wipari Henwood last week received 500 alarms from AMI, out of a nationwide donation of 1500 by the company.

They will be installed in houses as part of home safety visits by Fire and Emergency, Habitat for Humanity and three iwi organisations covering the region's geographical spread.

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''Northland has many remote, isolated communities. By partnering with these organisations we are able to help people that we would not otherwise be able to reach to protect themselves,'' Henwood said.

The iwi groups in the partnership are He Iwi Kotahi Tatou Trust Moerewa, Whakawhiti Ora Pai Te Kao and Te Runanga o Te Rarawa.

The first alarm was installed in a Corks Rd house which Habitat for Humanity had supplied to a Whāngarei family in recent years.

Eve Whitwell, from AMI, said the insurer was proud to donate the alarms to such a good cause.

The installation was timed to pair with the message for people to check home smoke alarms twice a year, when daylight saving starts and ends.

People are also being reminded in the campaign to haven an alarm in every bedroom, living room and hallway.

There are two types of alarms - ionisation and photoelectric.

FENZ recommends people install long life photoelectric ones because they detect smouldering fires sooner, and work for up to 10 years before going flat.

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Although more expensive, they don't require replacement batteries.