Did you know that when you sleep, your sense of smell also sleeps? If a fire starts, toxic fumes can overcome you before you wake up. So make sure you have your smoke alarm installation properly tested and installed.
In modern day homes there is lots of plastic and a lot of foam, and when this burns it creates these toxic fumes and gases which sit at the top of the ceiling. This gas begins to create it’s own heat, which begins to bear down on the fire. When this gas reaches 600C, it bursts into flames and just one breath of it could kill a person.
South East Queensland has the highest rate of house fires in all of Australia – Can you believe that between June & September 2015 there were 313 house fires in South East Queensland? Most people believe that house fires start from electrical faults but this is not the case – the cause of most fires is humans – whether it be from human error or malicious intent.
Due to these horrific statistics, the QLD Government have implemented new smoke alarm legislation that was effective from January 2017.
The main part of this legislation that affects all properties is that smoke alarms must be the photo electric style and be hardwired where possible – this part of the legislation is effective from January 2017. These types of alarms, also known as optical or photo-optical, detect visible particles of combustion – they essentially “see” the fire. The old ionisation style detected smoke – which is why they go off when you burn your toast. Once a fire is emitting smoke, it is sometimes too late to escape. Photo electric alarms are great for smouldering fires, such as a fire in your furniture and contain no radioactive material like the old style.
Smoke alarm installation is now mandatory in each bedroom, hallways and other parts of the home – they must also be interconnected. This will mean that a fire in one part of the property will trigger all alarms and give families time to escape together. For existing dwellings, you have until January 2027 to comply. See the below image as an example of how interconnected alarms should be installed.
- New dwellings and those being substantially renovated must comply with this regulation from January 2017.
- Properties being sold, leased or having a lease renewed must comply with this regulation from January 2022.
Homes built or significantly renovated since 1997 must have hard-wired (240 volt) smoke alarms, installed by a licensed electrician while homes built prior to 1997 must have at least one 9 volt battery powered alarm.
The Queensland Fire and Rescue Service recommends the use of photoelectric smoke alarms as they are particularly responsive to smouldering fires. They are also less prone to nuisance cooking alarms.
Check the alarms in your house today – they only have a 10 year life so ensure they are in date. Also as mentioned above, we recommend the use of photoelectric smoke alarms – if your alarm has the hazard symbol on it, then it is old, outdated technology.
For more information on smoke alarm installation visit these links below:
At Watmar Electrical, we are fully trained and across the required legislation and can assist you with whatever your smoke alarm requirements are.