Tag: QLD smoke alarm

Queensland was rocked by another devastating house fire tragedy earlier this month when police confirmed that five young brothers and their 34-year-old father died in a house blaze on Russell Island, off Brisbane’s Redland Bay. Emergency services rushed to the home on Todman Street just after 6am on Sunday 8th August to find the two-storey house fully engulfed, with two neighbouring properties also alight. A 21-year-old woman thought to have been inside the house when the fire broke out managed to escape with injuries.

The Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Assistant Commissioner, John Cawcutt, said the blaze was “one of the worst fires we’ve had for a long time”. Fire and Emergency Services Minister Mark Ryan also said the fire was a great tragedy. “Of course a very sad day for Queenslanders,” he said. “Our hearts break for those involved in the tragedy. It seems a tragic loss of life”. A forensic investigation is currently underway to determine how the fire started, and why the smoke alarms did not activate.

In terms of sheer loss of life from a single domestic house fire, the Russell Island fire tragedy is second only to the August 2011 Logan house fire, which was Queensland’s deadliest house fire, causing the death of 11 family members. A coronial inquest could not establish the exact cause of that blaze but a coroner found there was a ‘reasonable prospect’ that all or some of the victims could have escaped if smoke alarms had been working. That tragedy led to the introduction of new QLD laws for interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms inside every bedroom, hallways outside the bedrooms, and on every level of Queensland homes.

Why Didn’t The Smoke Alarms Activate?

The rented two storey Queenslander home allegedly had smoke alarms installed, however the female survivor of the blaze said she didn’t hear any smoke alarms activate, adding that concerns had previously been expressed about them. It remains unclear why the alarms didn’t activate and whether they were in working order. ‘With a fire of that intensity it will be difficult to know whether there were smoke alarms present or not but that will be part of the investigation,’ Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Deputy Commissioner Joanne Greenfield said. It is understood the home was transported to the site around 2017. ‘So thinking about the legislation that was in place at that time it would have required one hardwired smoke alarm, that’s if it was following the legislation,’ QLD Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Leach said.

A close family friend issued a harrowing plea to all Australians on the behalf of the Children’s surviving mother, stating that she ‘just wants the world to know – check your smoke alarms and hold your babies’.

What Are Queensland’s Smoke Alarm Laws?

From 1st January 2022, all properties being sold or leased for rent in Queensland were required by law to be compliant with the smoke alarm rules below (on 1st January 2027 the law is being extended to cover all QLD homeowners and occupiers, irrespective of whether the property is being sold or rented out).

QLD Smoke Alarms Requirements

Smoke alarms must:

  • be photoelectric. 
  • comply with the smoke alarm Australian Standard 3786:2014.
  • be hardwired to the mains power supply with a secondary power source (i.e. non removable 10 year battery) or;
  • be powered by 10 year non-removable battery type photoelectric smoke alarm.
  • be interconnected with every other smoke alarm in the dwelling so all activate together.
  • must not contain an ionisation sensor.

Installing Photoelectric Smoke Alarms In QLD

Photoelectric Smoke alarms must be installed:

  • 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.

QLD Rental Property Smoke Alarm Laws

In addition to the above, rental property managers and landlords are required to test and clean smoke alarms and replace any flat or nearly flat batteries within 30 days before the start of a tenancy. This also includes a renewal tenancy.

Postscript Update – April 2024

The landlord was charged and fined under the QLD Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990 after she admitted failing to install compliant photoelectric smoke alarms in the rental property.

The interstate landlord claimed to be unaware of the changes to QLD’s smoke alarm legislation.

“It’s absolutely no excuse that she failed to keep abreast of the laws required of an investment property owner in having the premises legally wired with smoke detectors after January 2022,” Magistrate Deborah Vasta said. Ms Vasta told the court that the landlord had failed to comply with safety legislation and a coronial inquest into the six deaths was still yet to occur.

“There’s no evidence about whether two smoke alarms that were there were working or not,” she said.

Detectives are continuing their investigation following the fire and a final report will be given to the coroner in the near future.

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

In recent years, Australia has witnessed a surge in the adoption of lithium-ion battery technology, and Queensland is no exception. Small, lightweight and versatile, these batteries power everything from smartphones to e-scooters, e-bikes and even household renewable energy storage systems. Whilst these convenient batteries have transformed the way we live, work and play, their introduction has been accompanied by a concerning rise in lithium-ion battery fires in QLD homes.

QLD Lithium-Ion Battery Fires Increasing Exponentially

Data collated from Australian state fire departments indicate that more than 450 fires across this country have been linked to lithium-ion batteries since 2021 (including 157 in Queensland). Several of these fires have garnered significant media attention – see below.

Close call! e-scooter battery fires extremely difficult to extinguish

What Is The Cause Of Lithium-Ion Battery Fires?

Numerous factors contribute to this alarming safety trend, but one of the primary culprits behind lithium-ion battery fires is improper charging practices. If incompatible chargers are used, or devices like e-scooters are left charging unattended for extended periods, it can lead to overheating and a subsequent lithium-ion battery fire.


Another common cause of lithium-ion battery fires stems from manufacturing defects in either the battery charger or the battery itself. Poor adherence to quality standards during manufacture can lead to internal faults, increasing the risk of overheating and fire. Furthermore, improper storage and transportation of batteries can cause short circuits, posing a threat of fire. To mitigate these risks, consumers should avoid purchasing cheap lithium-ion batteries and chargers second-hand or from unregulated online marketplaces, as low-quality, counterfeit, and non-original equipment manufacturer (OEM) batteries and chargers can exacerbate fire hazards.


E-scooters and e-bikes, due to their nature of use, are often subjected to rough handling and exposure to environmental elements. Consequently, damage to the battery can occur, leading to internal short-circuits and potential fires. Even seemingly minor physical damage to the battery’s protective casing can create a pathway for ‘thermal runaway’, triggering a catastrophic fire event. When lithium-ion batteries fail, they undergo thermal runaway, involving the violent bursting of one or multiple battery cells, releasing toxic, flammable, and explosive gases, and resulting in an intense, self-sustaining fire. Putting out a lithium-ion battery fire is challenging, as it escalates rapidly with intense heat and cannot be easily extinguished with water or regular fire extinguishers. Additionally, such fires often reignite several times after being extinguished.

ABC report – dangers of lithium-ion batteries in Australia

Photoelectric Smoke Alarm Lithium Batteries – Fire Hazard?

What about my smoke alarms – don’t they also contain a lithium-ion battery?


The 10-year long life lithium batteries in smoke alarms differ in design from lithium-ion batteries used in e-scooters, e-bikes and the like. Photoelectric smoke alarms contain two small 3V, single-use, lithium batteries sealed within the alarm itself. These batteries are non-replaceable and are designed to deplete slowly and steadily over a 10-year lifespan. At the end of this period, the entire smoke alarm is disposed of (including the sealed batteries), and a new smoke alarm is installed. The same fire and thermal runaway risks associated with continuous and repeated recharging of large, high energy lithium-ion batteries are not present with small non-rechargeable smoke alarm lithium batteries.

Photoelectric Smoke Alarm Battery Safety


When purchasing a photoelectric smoke alarm, it is essential to choose one that complies with Australian Standard 3786:2014, as indicated by the official Australian Standard red ‘5-tick’s mark on the packaging and the product itself. Product testing required of this standard helps ensure that the smoke alarm poses no electrical danger during normal use. Additionally, the smoke alarm should carry the electrical Regulatory Compliance Mark (RCM), affirming compliance with Australian electrical safety regulations outlined in Australian Standard 3820:2020. Avoiding cheap imported knock-offs without the RCM mark is crucial for battery safety.

ZEN photoelectric smoke alarms – symbols of battery safety compliance

Watch lithium-ion battery fires in this video

Conclusion

The surge in lithium-ion battery fires in Australia calls for a collective effort from manufacturers, regulators, and users to address this growing concern. While the benefits of lithium-ion batteries are undeniable, the risks associated with their usage demand immediate attention. By enhancing safety regulations, improving manufacturing standards, educating and promoting responsible usage and re-charging practices, we can embrace the lithium ion-battery revolution in QLD while ensuring a safer and more sustainable future for all. Please ensure ZEN photoelectric smoke alarms are installed in your home for early detection of a lithium-ion battery fire. For more information on lithium-ion battery safety refer to the QLD Fire and Emergency Services or other state fire department.

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

A photoelectric smoke alarm is a life saving appliance that is designed to alert occupants of a fire and give them time to evacuate safely, and as such, it is a crucial component of QLD home safety. But have you ever wondered how a photoelectric smoke alarm is manufactured to to meet the highest standards of quality and safety? Manufacturers of a photoelectric smoke alarm must ensure their products are safe, reliable, and effective – this is where an ISO 9001 Quality Management System comes into play!

What is an ISO 9001 Quality Management System? (QMS)

ISO 9001 is a globally recognized standard for quality management systems. It provides a framework for organizations to establish and maintain systems that ensure consistent product quality. ISO 9001 is an important indicator of a company’s commitment to quality and customer satisfaction – it covers all aspects of an organization’s operations, including design, development, production, delivery, and support. Has your photoelectric smoke alarm come from an ISO 9001 accredited facility? (our ZEN smoke alarms do!).

Photoelectric Smoke Alarms and ISO 9001 Quality

The commercial production of a photoelectric smoke alarm involves sourcing high-quality materials, assembling the components, and then testing the finished product for quality and safety. ISO 9001 requires manufacturers to establish and document clear processes for sourcing these materials and assembling the product, as well as procedures for testing and inspecting the final product.

Testing is a crucial part of the manufacturing process for photoelectric smoke alarms. ISO 9001 requires manufacturers to establish rigorous testing procedures to ensure that every device meets the required safety standard (Australian Standard 3786:2014). This includes testing for sensitivity to smoke, false alarms, and battery life.

ISO 9001 Accreditation = Photoelectric Smoke Alarm Quality

ISO 9001 certification also requires manufacturers to continuously monitor and improve their processes to ensure consistent product quality. This involves regularly reviewing and analyzing data to identify areas for improvement, and implementing changes to optimize the manufacturing process.

Manufacturers must also have processes in place to ensure that the photoelectric smoke alarm is delivered to customers safely and effectively. This means that the smoke alarms are packaged correctly and that they arrive at their destination without damage. Manufacturers must also ensure that customers can install and use the photoelectric smoke alarm correctly.

ISO 9001 Photoelectric Smoke Alarm Summary

Manufacturing photoelectric smoke alarms is a complex process that requires precision, attention to detail, and a commitment to quality and safety. ISO 9001 accreditation plays a crucial role in ensuring that every step of the process is documented, monitored, and continuously improved to meet the highest standards of quality and safety. By choosing a photoelectric smoke alarm manufacturer that is ISO 9001 accredited, you can have confidence that the photoelectric smoke alarms in your home are of the highest quality and will provide reliable protection for years to come.

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 is undergoing a phased roll-out of new smoke alarm legislation, culminating in 2027. It is unsurprising then that there is misinformation regarding smoke alarm requirements – particularly surrounding the installation of 10-year battery powered smoke alarms vs 240V hardwired smoke alarms.

Can I install 10-year battery powered smoke alarms in QLD?

YES! you can. It is legal and perfectly acceptable to install 10-year battery powered smoke alarms in your Queensland home, provided you are not performing any of the 3 activities below;

  1. Constructing a new home
  2. Performing a substantial renovation
  3. Replacing an existing 240V hardwired smoke alarm

Prior to installing any smoke alarm it is important to understand their differences and when each type is permissible. Information contained in this article is sourced directly from the QLD Government. We encourage you to view and read the legislation for yourself too – direct links to all official government sources are included at the bottom of this article.

Queensland’s Building Fire Safety (Domestic Smoke Alarms) Legislation Amendment Regulation 2016 prescribes the legal ways of powering smoke alarms for domestic dwellings. It states that both 240V hardwired smoke alarms and 10-year battery powered smoke alarms are allowed. See the excerpt below;

Queensland’s Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) website states that 10-year battery powered smoke alarms are acceptable, provided the three scenarios previously mentioned above are not being performed.

Advantages of 10-year battery powered smoke alarms

  • Wireless smoke alarms powered by a 10-year non-removeable battery can be easily DIY installed and don’t require the expense of an electrician.
  • As the battery is sealed inside the smoke alarm (non-removeable) it lasts for the entire 10-year lifespan of the alarm and never needs to be replaced – no more annoying low battery chirp. After 10 years the whole alarm is simply swapped out for a new one.
  • Added versatility through wireless RF interconnection. In some situations it is physically impossible to install 240V hardwired alarms – i.e. where there are solid concrete ceilings or no roof cavity.

Do QLD smoke alarms need to be hardwired by 2027?

The short answer to this question is NO, they don’t. Although there are a lot of houses built in Queensland that require hardwired smoke alarms, there are just as many that have the option to use wireless 10-year battery powered smoke alarms and still be 100% compliant.

When must I install a 240V hardwired smoke alarm in QLD?

There are 3 situations in Queensland where it is a statutory requirement for 240V hardwired smoke alarms to be installed in a domestic dwelling (and 10-year battery powered smoke alarms may not be used). Outside of these 3 scenarios it is acceptable to install 10-year battery powered smoke alarms in your home.

1) If you are constructing a new home

If you are constructing a new home in QLD then hardwired smoke alarms are required as part of the building approval process. Queensland’s Building Regulation 2021 states that when constructing a new home, the smoke alarms must be hardwired to the domestic dwelling’s electricity supply.

2) If you are performing a substantial renovation

Queensland’s Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990 states that hardwired smoke alarms must be installed when a substantial renovation is being performed to a domestic dwelling.

3) If you are replacing an existing hard wired smoke alarm

The Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990 also states that if a pre-existing smoke alarm being replaced was hardwired to the domestic dwelling’s electricity supply, then the replacement smoke alarm must be hardwired to the dwelling’s electricity supply.

Outside of the 3 scenarios described above, it is legal and perfectly acceptable in QLD to install wireless interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms which are

powered by a non-removeable 10-year battery.

Want to do some further reading? Links to all official sources in this article are provided below

Building Fire Safety (Domestic Smoke Alarms) Legislation Amendment Regulation 2016

States that both 240V hardwired smoke alarms and 10-year battery powered smoke alarms are allowed in domestic QLD dwellings.

Building Regulation 2021

States that when constructing a new home in QLD, the smoke alarms must be hardwired to the domestic dwelling’s electricity supply.

Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990

States hardwired smoke alarms must be installed when performing a substantial renovation or replacing an existing hardwired smoke alarm.

QLD Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Website – 2027 Smoke Alarm Legislation Fact Sheet

States that smoke alarms must be either hardwired or powered by a non-removable 10 year battery, or a combination of both may be allowed.

States that existing hardwired smoke alarms that need replacement must be replaced with a hardwired smoke alarm.

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