South East Electrical Services

Five Reasons To Upgrade Your Smoke Alarm (2020)

A working smoke alarm provides a critical early warning, giving you and your family time to escape. Here are five (5) things everyone should know about your smoke alarms. 

Reason 1: Working smoke alarms save lives

The facts are startling.  In 2017 in Victoria there were 1588 preventable house fires causing more than $42 million dollars in damage.Between 2000 and 2014 56% of fatal home fires occurred in homes where no smoke alarms were installed.A working smoke alarm provides a critical early warning, giving you and your family time to escape.
It can take as little as three minutes for a fire to take hold. It takes only two quick breaths of thick, black smoke to render someone unconscious.
In short, you’re twice as likely to die in a house fire if you don’t have a working smoke alarm.Smoke alarms do save lives and they are an investment that should not be overlooked.

Reason 2: Legislation Requires Interconnected Photoelectric Smoke Alarms

Changing legislation means that your current smoke alarms might not be compliant. Or they might not be compliant if you sell your home. Or rent your property.

Legislation is pushing us toward interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms. You might now wonder, what are interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms? Let’s break that down and have a look at each element of them. 

Interconnected

Interconnected smoke alarms talk to each other. When one alarm detects smoke, it alerts the others. Which in turn alert you sleeping peacefully in your bed while a fire smoulders in another part of your home.

Interconnected smoke alarms reduce the time required to notify all occupants of a fire. Time is the most vital element when you have a house fire. It allows you to escape safety with your family.

Smoke detector Special
showing interconnected smoke alarms and correct placement in the home

Photoelectric

There are two types of smoke alarms. There are ionisation alarms and photoelectric alarms.Ionisation alarms have a little bit of radioactive material in them. This reacts to smoke particles and sets off the alarm.Photoelectric alarms use a light beam to detect smoke. When smoke blocks the alarm’s beam if sends out an alarm.Smouldering and smokey fires are most common in house fires. For this, photoelectric alarms are best.

In 2022 all homes being leased or sold in Queensland will need to have interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms. 

For more information about smoke alarms try these interesting links below:

Reason 3: Old Smoke Alarms Aren't Reliable

You have to replace your smoke alarm batteries every year. You already knew that, I hope. In case you didn’t:

Don't be a fool. Change your smoke alarm battery annually.

The don’t be a fool campaign was launched back in 2012. Since then, April 1st has become associated as the day to swap out your old smoke alarm batteries. It’s an easy day to remember. If you didn’t swap your battery this April Fool’s Day, do it now.  

Your smoke alarm should be replaced if it is 10 years or older.

That’s right, old smoke alarms aren’t reliable smoke alarms. And there’s one thing you want  to be reliable, it’s your smoke alarm. 

If your alarm is old, chuck it out and get a new one.

The fact sheet below explains what you need to know about replacing your smoke alarm every 10 years. For a PDF version click on the image. It links directly to the QFES website. 

Reason 4: You Value Convenience

You know that experience where the toast burns? Or your pie has dripped down the sides and the sauce is smouldering in the bottom of the oven?And then you open the oven and the smoke alarm goes off?

It’s annoying right? 

Imagine getting a warning about smoke in the kitchen before the alarm goes off.

That’s just one of the features of the new smart smoke alarms. Check out this one from Google Nest below.

Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

As you can see in that video, there a bunch of ways where a modern smoke alarm can increase convenicne.

These features aren’t all singular to Google Nest smoke alarms. If you checked out the caravan smoke alarm article, for instance, you’ll have seen that their detectors have a hush button. This button allows you to press it before you smoke up the house with the cooking, momentarily preventing the alarm going off. 

Modern smoke alarms have many features not dreamt of years ago and provide many reasons to upgrade. 

Reason Five: House fires

House fires in Australia are the largest cause of property loss, causing an estimated  $9.8 million in damage each year. Most of these fires begin in the kitchen. 

Never leave cooking food unattended and keep other flammable items such as tea towels or paper towels away from the cook top as they can quickly ignite and cause a large amount of damage.

The next most common cause of house fires are the result of electrical equipment misuse or malfunction. 40% of house fires are caused by electrical malfunctions.

To prevent electrical fires make sure your smoke alarms are in working order. There are a number of other ways to ensure your property is safe from potential electrical fires they include: 

  • Don’t overload powerpoints and powerboards
  • Regularly check electrical leads for damage
  • Never use faulty electrical leads or appliances
  • Roll your electric blanket – don’t fold
  • Where possible turn off all electrical appliances at the powerpoint
  • Turn off heaters when not at home and before going to bed. 
  • Provide adequate ventilation around all electrical equipment to avoid excessive heat build up.

 

The final major cause of house fires are cigarettes and candles.

  • Keep candles well away from curtains and always put candles out when you leave the room
  • Extinguish cigarettes properly before disposal
  • Never smoke in bed.
  • Keep matches and lighters out of reach of children.
Fires begin in kitchens
Emergency electrical faults
candles

An investment in a smoke alarm is an investment in protection for your property and family. 

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