Smoke Alarm Installations Brisbane
Smoke alarms play an important role in the safety of your family and home. It is important to ensure that these devices are correctly installed and maintained to ensure maximum protection. There are over 1200 residential fires every year and over 150 deaths since 2004. One call to Just-In Time Electrical and we can pop out and check to ensure that you have the correct type of smoke alarms and that they work correctly.
New legislation has come into play as of 1 January 2017 though the way/time the new rules come into play is different depending on the particular situation. For an overview of the legislation visit the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services fact sheet page.
- Houses built/renovated after 1 January 2017 have to comply with the new legislation.
- Houses sold or leased have to comply with the legislation by 1 January 2022
- All houses must be compliant by 1 January 2027
Why the change in legislation:
After multiple deaths in Queensland in housing due to either no smoke alarms at all or non-functional smoke alarms. Legislation has been put in place to ensure that Queenslander’s have the best possible protection. They found that the original type of smoke alarms the ionisation type were being either removed or disconnected due to nuisance alarms and that people where sleeping through alarms during the night. This prompted the change to Photo electric alarms, interconnection and the placement of smoke alarms in bedrooms. The new smoke alarm legislation ensures that you have as much time as possible to react in the unfortunate situation of a house fire and find a suitable escape route.
What is required:
Under the new legislation you will be required to have photo electric interlinked smoke alarms installed in bedrooms, hallways linking bedrooms and the egress path and on each level. A great way to ensure you comply with the new legislation is to get a free home visit by the fire department. They will come out and recommend the best installation for your particular situation, once this is done you can call Just-In Time Electrical to have your smoke alarms installed. You can either book on line here or call 13 7468.
Types of Smoke Alarms:
There are many types of smoke alarms but generally there are 2 types:
- Ionisation Smoke alarm – this alarm detects small particles and are therefore better at detecting rapid burning fires, however these detectors are also know to be the alarms that are set off by nuisance smoke eg. burnt toast. Under the new legislation these smoke alarms are NOT to be installed. These smoke alarms do contain a small amount of radioactive material.
- Photo Electric Smoke alarm – this alarm detects smouldering fires and is activated when particles enter a light chamber. The QFES recommends these type of smoke alarms are installed. The power source and interconnections of this type of smoke alarms vary:
- 240V with re-chargeable battery back up
- 240V with 9 volt replaceable battery back up
- Battery operated with 10 year lithium battery
- Battery operated with 9v replaceable battery
- Interlink via cabling
- Interlink via RF signal
Smoke alarms for the hearing impaired:
People with hearing impairment can use the standard smoke alarms and then link these to purpose made vibration pads which can go in the bed and strobing lights that can alert you. You can find some suitable hearing impaired alarm products here.
Quality smoke alarms:
Like anything you get what you pay for, a 10 year lithium detector is obviously going to be more expensive than a replaceable battery type however in the long run you will make that money up as you don’t have to replace any batteries for the life of the detector. Other features that you want in a detector is an insect screen, although not fool proof this will help keep the little critters out and therefore reduce nuisance alarms and the need to replace the alarm.
Testing and maintenance:
Rental properties have specific requirements regarding testing of smoke detectors but for a standard residential premises you should be testing your smoke alarms every month and replacing the battery every 12 months (unless 10yr lithium battery). You can test the smoke alarm by pressing the test button normally located on the front of the alarm.
How do you check your smoke alarm:
Checking your smoke alarm is easy, you want to check its date, type, battery, operation and location.
Checking the date:
The smoke alarm should have either a manufactured date or an expiry date. This will either be located on the back of the alarm or on the side of the alarm. Smoke alarms have a life span of ten years. If your smoke alarm is over ten years old or does not have any date on it at all you will have to get the alarm replaced immediately.
On the back of the alarm it will state that the smoke alarm is either photo electric or ionisation type. Legislation states that smoke alarms must be photo electric.
This all depends on the type of battery, we recommend smoke alarms with either a 10 year battery of a re chargeable battery in either case the battery never needs to be changed. However it is common to see smoke alarms with just standard batteries, these 9 volt batteries need to be replaced when the smoke alarm makes a chirping sound or every 12 months which ever comes sooner. The long lasting battery types obviously will cost more up front but need literally no maintenance over the life of the alarm
Testing the operation of the alarm is easy and you should check the manufacturers instructions. However for most alarms you should see a constant green indicator light and then a red indicator light that flashes ever 10 to 60 seconds. You will then need to test the smoke alarm by pressing the “TEST” button. This will make the smoke alarm sound and if interlinked with other alarms they will also alarm as well.
Manufacturers have instructions for the location of specific smoke alarms that should be followed. New legislation states that smoke alarms in residential properties must be located on each living level, egress paths, hallways to bedrooms and in each bedroom. It is also important that smoke alarms are not located within 300 mm of a light or corner of wall or ceiling; 400 mm of air conditioning vent or fan blade.