Tag: QLD smoke alarm law

As the winter chill gradually gives way to the warmth of a Queensland spring, we find ourselves emerging from the cozy hibernation of the colder months. Spring cleaning, gardening and home maintenance tasks become top priorities, and one crucial activity that should not be overlooked is checking your interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms. Whilst this may not seem like the most glamorous of springtime duties, it is undeniably one of the most important ones. The primary purpose of a smoke alarm is to protect you and your loved ones in the event of a fire. By checking them in the spring, you ensure that they are in good working condition and ready to alert you in case of an emergency.

Here’s how you should make checking your smoke alarms a regular springtime ritual.

Photoelectric Smoke Alarm Spring Cleaning

Did you know that the changing of the seasons can have an impact on your photoelectric smoke alarms? Over time, dust and debris can accumulate inside them, reducing their efficiency and increasing the possibility for nuisance alarms. Whilst you’re already in spring cleaning mode, why not take a few extra minutes to ensure your alarms are fully clean and operational? Gently vacuum around the exterior shell of your smoke detectors with the soft brush attachment from a vacuum cleaner to remove any cobwebs, dust build-up etc. which may have occurred over the winter months. Outside of this spring time activity it is recommended to clean your ZEN smoke alarms every 6 months.

Smoke Alarm Battery Check

Smoke alarms often rely on batteries for power, and these batteries can weaken or die over time. Fortunately most modern smoke detectors are now equipped with 10-year long life lithium batteries which are sealed inside the smoke alarm itself (after 10 years the entire smoke alarm is simply swapped out for a new one). However, if you still have an older style smoke alarm which uses 9V replaceable batteries then spring is a great time to either replace the old batteries with fresh ones, or our recommendation is to upgrade to new alarms with 10-year long life batteries. So, go ahead, replace those dusty old 9V replaceable battery smoke alarms in springtime with the newest photoelectric smoke alarms equipped with 10-year long life batteries, and ensure your alarms are always ready to do their job.

Photoelectric Smoke Alarm Testing

Testing your interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms is a relatively quick and straightforward task. You don’t need any special tools or expertise. Smoke alarms have a ‘test’ button that you can press to ensure they are working correctly. It’s a small effort for a significant safety boost. In QLD the smoke alarms must be interconnected (so if one smoke alarm activates, they all do). When testing your smoke alarms be sure to check that all the smoke alarms are interconnected and activate together, usually within about 10 seconds of the test button being pressed on the first smoke alarm. If not, it’s time for some troubleshooting or possibly a replacement. Outside of this spring time activity it is also recommended to test your ZEN smoke alarms monthly.

Smoke Alarm Expiry Date

Smoke alarms don’t last forever and should be replaced 10 years from the date of manufacture. According to Australian Standard 3786:2014, the smoke alarm date of manufacture should be printed on the rear of the smoke alarm – go on, have a look. If they’re older than 10 years then they should be replaced with newer models. Why? Photoelectric sensors and other internal components can degrade over time, leading to a less effective smoke alarm.

Photoelectric Smoke Alarm Location

Whilst you’re at it, double-check the placement of your interconnected smoke alarms. Are they strategically positioned throughout your home as per Queensland smoke alarm laws? In Queensland there should be one smoke detector inside each bedroom, the interconnecting hallway outside the bedrooms, and at least one on each level of your home. If there is no interconnecting hallway outside the bedrooms then a smoke alarm must be installed outside the bedroom and other parts of the storey. Proper placement can make all the difference in early detection.

Photoelectric Smoke Alarm Placement Recommendations

Teach Your Family About Smoke Alarms

Checking your interconnected smoke alarms in the spring also presents an opportunity to educate your family about fire safety (especially children). Show them how to test the alarms and what to do and who to call in case they hear one go off. Surprisingly, young children may not automatically associate the sound of a smoke alarm with danger. This knowledge can be invaluable in an emergency situation. Phone 000 (triple zero) for the Queensland Fire Brigade in a real life fire emergency situation. If you do not already have one, spring time is a great opportunity to develop a home fire escape plan and rehearse it with your family.

Conclusion

So there you have it, as you embark on your spring cleaning rituals and home maintenance tasks, don’t forget to check your smoke alarms. It’s a simple yet essential step to ensure the safety of your home and loved ones. With working interconnected smoke alarms in place, you can enjoy the beauty and rejuvenation of a QLD spring with the peace of mind that you are well-prepared for any potential fire-related emergencies. So, make it a springtime tradition to give your ZEN smoke alarms the attention they deserve – because the safety of your loved ones always comes first.

Want to know more? Watch our ZEN quick start video or call us on 0478 596 402 today

We love talking smoke alarms!

ZEN Photoelectric Smoke Alarms

New Farm, QLD, 4005

These new QLD smoke alarm laws have been implemented due to several fires which have tragically resulted in multiple fatalities in each instance.

Coronial inquest findings noted that had each property been fitted with functioning interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms in prescribed locations, the occupants may have stood a better chance of survival.

Early smoke / fire detection improves escape time from a burning building. During a fire emergency, it was not only the heat and flames themselves which presented a life-threatening hazard, many victims were first overcome by an accumulation of smoke and toxic fumes.

Russell Island House Fire – Brisbane 2023

In the early morning of 6th August 2023, Emergency Services were called to a house fire on Russell Island, just off Brisbane’s southeast coast. The cause of the house fire remains undetermined, however it resulted in the loss of six lives – five young boys and their father who returned to the inferno in an attempt to rescue his children. The fire also destroyed two neighbouring homes and left several people needing treatment for burns and smoke inhalation.

The landlord and home owner was subsequently charged and fined for failing to install legally required and compliant smoke alarms in the Queensland rental property.

Slacks Creek House Fire – Brisbane 2011

Just before midnight on 23rd August 2011, an accidental fire ripped through a house in Slacks Creek, South Brisbane.

The fire was to cause the greatest loss of life in a domestic house fire in Australian history, with a total of 11 people (including many children) perishing due to smoke inhalation.

A finding from the 2014 Coronial Inquest stated that;
‘Once this particular fire started, it is likely that some or all of the deaths would have been prevented if the sleeping occupants had been quickly awoken and had realised that they needed to leave the house as quickly as possible … smoke alarms were either not present in the dwelling or were not maintained’.

Many recommendations from the Coronial Inquest were incorporated into the QLD Building Fire Safety (Domestic Smoke Alarms) Legislation Amendment Regulation 2016.

The legislation itself may be viewed at the Queensland Government website below;
https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/view/pdf/asmade/sl-2016-0221

Palace Backpackers Fire – Childers 2000

On 23rd June 2000 at 1am a disgruntled resident deliberately lit a fire inside the Palace Backpackers Hostel in Childers, southeast Queensland.

The fire spread rapidly throughout the old timber building and the hostel did not have working smoke detectors or alarms. The result? 15 young people sadly lost their lives. The arsonist was captured by police and sentenced to life in prison. The devastating effect of this event is still evident on the local township to this day.

Want to know more? Watch our ZEN quick start video or call us on 0478 596 402 today.

We love talking smoke alarms!

ZEN Photoelectric Smoke Alarms

New Farm, QLD, 4005

Queensland has the most stringent smoke alarm laws in the nation. These laws have been amended and updated over time due to several tragic fires which have resulted in significant loss of life.

Queensland smoke alarm legislation

The two main pieces of legislation in Queensland are the;

  • Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990
  • Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008

The objectives of the legislation are to ensure that all fire safety installations (including smoke alarms) within a building are maintained, and to ensure that people can safely evacuate from a building in the event of a fire.

Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008 – smoke alarms

Part 5A of the QLD Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008 deals specifically with smoke alarm requirements for domestic dwellings. It states that smoke alarms must;

  • Comply with the Australian Standard (AS 3786:2014).
  • Contain a photoelectric sensor, and not also contain an ionization sensor.
  • Be either hardwired into the building’s main power supply or powered by a non-removable minimum 10-year lifespan battery.

Where should smoke alarms be installed?

Part 5A also states exactly where smoke alarms must be installed inside a domestic dwelling (prescribed locations). It says that photoelectric smoke alarms must be installed in;

  • each bedroom.
  • the hallway which connects each bedroom.
  • if there is no hallway connecting each bedroom, then a part of the storey that is between the
    bedroom and the rest of the dwelling.
  • for each storey with no bedrooms—on the most likely travel path of exit from the dwelling.

Where should smoke alarms not be installed

Part 5A (3) also provides exact distances and measurements where smoke alarms should / should not be installed. It states that smoke alarms must not be installed;

  • within 300mm of a light fitting.
  • within 300mm of a corner of the ceiling and a wall.
  • within 400mm of an opening from which air is supplied from an air conditioner or forced air vent.
  • within 400mm of the blades of a ceiling fan.

Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990 – smoke alarms

In addition to the above, Division 5A of the QLD Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990 stipulates that from 1st January 2022 all rental properties and properties being sold in Queensland must have smoke alarms which;

  • Are less than 10 years old.
  • Operate when tested.
  • Be interconnected with every other smoke alarm in the building so that all activate together.

If the smoke alarm being replaced was hardwired to the domestic dwelling’s electricity supply, the replacement smoke alarm must also be hardwired to the dwelling’s electricity supply. Any newly constructed homes or substantial renovations must have interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms which are hardwired to the mains power supply. A definition of a ‘substantial renovation’ is provided within the Act.

Furthermore, these smoke alarm requirements will become mandatory for ALL dwellings in Queensland by 1st January 2027.

Smoke alarms in QLD rental properties

With respect to QLD rental properties, in addition to all the above points, the Act also states that;

  • The lessor must test each smoke alarm within 30 days before the start of a tenancy in a domestic dwelling.
  • The tenant must test each smoke alarm in the dwelling at least once every 12 months.
  • If the tenant is aware a smoke alarm in the dwelling has failed, the tenant must advise the lessor as soon as practicable.
  • The tenant must clean each smoke alarm at least once every 12 months.

Direct links to the QLD Government website are posted below if you would like to read the full legislative documents for yourself.

Building Fire Safety Regulations 2008 (current as at 24 June 2022)
Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990 (current as at 26 April 2024)

Want to know more? Watch our ZEN quick start video or call us on 0478 596 402 today

We love talking smoke alarms!

ZEN Photoelectric Smoke Alarms

New Farm, QLD, 4005