The QLD Government passed legislation on May 1 2006, to ensure that every floor of a home has at least one functioning smoke alarm. Smoke alarms are susceptible to damage from dust, insects, humidity, and age. They should be replaced every ten years. Technology has evolved and improved significantly over the years.
Fire and Rescue QLD encourages residents to ReAlarm by replacing outdated smoke alarms with modern interconnected alarms in all bedrooms, living spaces (including hallways and staircases) and garages.
What was the date and reason for the introduction of smoke alarm legislation?
After a string of house fires that resulted in fatalities, the QLD Government introduced a new law on May 1, 2006.
The legislation required that every residential dwelling in NSW have at least one working smoke alarm on each floor. This applies to owner-occupied or rental properties, relocatable houses, caravans, campervans, and any other residential buildings where people sleep. Smoke alarms must conform to Australian Standard 3786 (AS3786) and be clearly labelled on the packaging.
On Electrical Contractors has more information about smoke alarm testing and maintenance laws.
How can people determine how old someone is?
The AS3786 standard requires that a serial number (or batch number) be attached to smoke alarms to help identify their age. For example, if the number 2406 is, it could mean that the product was made in the 24th week of 2006. Manufacturers may place the date of manufacture on smoke alarms, while others put the expiry date. The date or batch numbers are often located near the battery compartment at the base of the smoke alarm.
Are smoke alarms to be placed where?
The Building Legislation Amend (Smoke Alarms), Act 2005 has minimum requirements. However, Fire and Rescue QLD recommends that you have interconnected alarms installed in every bedroom, living area (including hallways and staircases) and garage.
The Act requires smoke alarms to go in different places for different types of premises. A smoke alarm must be installed on each floor of a residential dwelling. Install the alarm between the kitchen area and the sleeping areas to be heard from the bedrooms.
Smoke alarms too close to the bathroom or kitchen is a common error. Fire and Rescue NSW recommends interconnected alarms in every bedroom and living space, including hallways, stairs, and garage.
How can residents maintain their smoke alarms (testing/battery etc.)?
Fire and Rescue QLD recommends that you do the following:
Every month, Smoke alarms must be tested (by pressing the “Test” button) to verify that the battery and alarm are working.
Clean smoke alarms every six months with a vacuum cleaner. This will get rid of any particles or dust that might prevent your smoke alarm from functioning correctly.
Replace your smoke alarm’s battery once a year. It is a good idea to replace it every year at Daylight Savings. The lithium battery in your smoke alarm cannot be replaced if it uses one. The whole unit must be replaced once every ten years.
Replace your smoke alarm every 10 years. Smoke alarms don’t last forever, and their sensitivity will decrease over time. All types of smoke alarms must be disposed of, or they should be replaced.
Why should people replace alarms?
Fire and Rescue NSW data shows that 56% of fatal home fires occurred between 2000 and 2014. Working smoke alarms provide a crucial early warning that gives you and your family the time to flee. It takes as little as three minutes to start a fire, and only two short breaths of thick black smoke can render someone unconscious.
Fire and Rescue NSW encourages NSW residents to ReAlarm by replacing outdated smoke alarms with modern interconnected alarms in all bedrooms, living spaces (including hallways and staircases) and garages.
It is also essential to recognise that technology has improved and changed over the past decade. New smoke alarms now have multiple sensor technologies within one device.
What happens if I have difficulty hearing or can’t change my smoke alarm?
There are many types of smoke alarms: dual-sensor, photoelectric, ionisation and multi-criteria. Carbon monoxide alarms, which are not smoke alarms, do not meet the requirements of the legislation. They may be used only in conjunction with smoke alarms to increase warnings. There are special alarms available for the hearing impaired, including alarms with emergency lights and alarms that can be used in kitchens or relocatable houses. These smoke alarms are different in that they can detect smoke and/or alert the user.
There are two options for people with hard of hearing or deafness: vibrating pad smoke alarms and strobe light.
How often should I change my smoke alarm?
Every smoke alarm unit should, at minimum, be replaced every ten years.
How can I get rid of my old smoke alarms?
Old smoke alarms can be dropped off at a Household Chemical CleanOut or Community Recycling Centre for free.
Household Chemical Cleanout events take place on various weekends throughout the year. The Community Recycling Centres are permanent drop off centres that are open all year.
Drop-off areas may be available at some Councils’ libraries. Ask your Council whether this service is available in your locality.