The use of Photoelectric Smoke Alarms is strongly recommended. Smoke alarms save lives. Without them in your home, your risk of death from a house fire is up to 3 times higher. In Queensland, about three-quarters of all home fire deaths happen in homes without smoke alarms — nearly half of all house fire deaths occur when people are sleeping.
Smoke alarm laws
By law, all homes and units in Queensland must be fitted with smoke alarms. It is your responsibility to make sure you have a working smoke alarm installed.
- Homes built before 1 July 1997 must have at least one 9-volt battery-operated smoke alarm
- Homes built or significantly renovated after 1 July 1997 must have a 240-volt (hard-wired) smoke alarm.
- Buildings submitted for approval from 1st May 2014 must have hard-wired and interconnected smoke alarms.
- As from 1st January 2017, a 10 year phased roll-out of interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms will commence, as follows:
- From 1st January 2017 - in all new dwellings and substantially renovated dwellings (applies to all building applications submitted from 1st January 2017);
- From 1st January 2022 - in all existing domestic dwellings leased or sold;
- From 1st January 2027 - in all other existing domestic dwellings.
- Prescribed limitations where smoke alarms should not be placed, include:
- within 300mm of a corner of a ceiling and a wall;
- within 300mm of a light fitting;
- within 400mm of an air-conditioning vent;
- within 400mm of the blades of a ceiling fan.
Where practicable smoke alarms must be placed on the ceiling.
Read more about smoke alarm legislation (PDF).
Choosing a smoke alarm
Use photoelectric smoke alarms (not ionisation types).
Photoelectric smoke alarms
Photoelectric smoke alarms are generally more effective than ionisation types because they 'see' the smoke by detecting visible particles of combustion. For this reason they are good at detecting smouldering fires and dense smoke, and are not as prone to false alarms (from cooking etc.).
There are two kinds of photoelectric smoke alarms:
· 240-volt smoke alarms (also called 'hard-wired smoke alarms'). These are connected to the house electrical system and have a battery back-up power supply
· 9-volt smoke alarms (also called 'battery-operated smoke alarms') are stand-alone battery operated alarms.
Safety standards — what to look for
When choosing a smoke alarm, make sure it:
· complies with the Australian Standard AS 3786-2014
· has the Standards Australia Mark or is Scientific Services Laboratory (SSL) certified.
View a list of compliant smoke alarms.
Installing and positioning smoke alarms
Smoke rises — try to place smoke alarms on the ceiling. If this is not possible, alarms may be placed high on a wall, according to the manufacturer's instructions.
New smoke alarm legislation smoke alarms to be installed at the following locations:
- in each bedroom;
- in hallways which connect bedrooms and the rest of the dwelling; or if there is no hallway, between the bedrooms and other parts of the storey; and
- if there are no bedrooms on a storey at least one smoke alarm must be installed in the most likely path of travel of exit the dwelling.
For newly constructed homes and substantially renovated dwellings, smoke alarms must be hardwired, interconnected and have a secondary power source, e.g. battery).
For existing dwellings (within legislated requirements and phase in period), smoke alarms must be hardwired or powered by a non-removable 10-year battery.
The number of smoke alarms you need depends on the size of your home. For further advice on contact Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Website Site
Maintaining and replacing smoke alarms
Read more about smoke alarms on the Queensland Fire and Emergency website.
Do you have a Safehome?
Safehome is a free safety and fire awareness inspection service conducted by Queensland Fire & Emergency Services. During the Safehome inspection local firefighters visit your home to help you to reduce fire risk and discuss your fire safety concerns.
Information source - Queensland State Government Website