What you need to know about Queensland's new smoke alarm legislation
Queensland smoke alarm legislation came into effect on 1st January 2017. That legislation changes the requirements in the home and in the workplace for Queenslanders.
The smoke alarm regulations came into being as a result of the fatal Slacks Creek fire in 2011. Fire and Emergency Services Minister Mark Ryan announced them recently. They aimed at preventing another tragedy like Slacks Creek, to keep Queensland homes safe from the threat of fire.
Know Your Smoke Alarm Requirements
Under the new legislation, every Queensland residence will need to be fitted with photoelectric smoke alarms that are interconnected. This is in all bedrooms and in hallways or between areas containing bedrooms.
If you’re doing renovations to your home then you might have to comply with these new standards. Queensland laws stipulate “substantial renovation” require interconnected photoelectric alarms. All new buildings must comply with the new laws.
Queensland smoke alarm requirements are for smoke alarms:
- on each storey
- in each bedroom
- in hallways that connect bedrooms and the rest of the dwelling
- if there is no hallway, between the bedroom 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 to exit the dwelling.
Smoke alarms must be hardwired, or for existing dwellings, they can also be powered by a non-removable 10-year battery.
When Should You Change Your Smoke Alarms?
There is a ten year phase out for the changes to take place. It has to be noted that the changes to photoelectric smoke alarms are based on recommendations from the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES). These recommendations are based on experience that points to the ability of this smoke alarm system to save lives. Our recommendation is to get your home converted to the new legislative requirements as soon as you can. In the event of a fire you have as little as 15 seconds to enact your fire escape plan. Delays in detection inherit in iconic smoke alarms, delays in waking up when an alarm sounds in another room but not yours or your childrens, can mean the difference between life and death. You have to change eventually so right now is a good time to do it.
Why Photoelectric Smoke Alarms?
Photoelectric smoke alarms “see” the smoke. Many homes will be fitted with ionic smoke alarms. If photoelectric smoke alarms see smoke then these alarms taste or feel the smoke. They have a chamber that fills with smoke, shorts the device, and causes the alarm to sound. Iconic smoke alarms aren’t considered as safe because they sometimes have a delay in sounding the alarm. When timely response to smoke could save lives, the ionic alarm’s chamber is filling with smoke. Until it shorts and sounds that alarm you’re perhaps sleeping soundly. That’s a deadly difference between iconic and photoelectric. In short, photoelectric smoke alarms sound earlier and more reliably in the event of fire. You can read our article on type of smoke detectors for more information.
Why Interconnected Smoke Alarms?
Interconnected smoke alarms all sound the alarm no matter where the smoke is detected. It’s not uncommon to have a smoke alarm sound in a one area of a house, perhaps downstairs, and for people in another area to sleep through it. Interconnected alarms are safer because they’re heard in every area of the house immediately, allowing for a timely escape from smoke and fire.