Smoke Alarms

Smoke Alarms

When you sleep, your sense of smell also sleeps. If a fire starts, toxic fumes can overcome you.

Photoelectric smoke alarms see smoke and will alert you early, so you can escape.

With interconnected alarms, you will be alerted no matter where you are, or where the fire starts. Imagine that a fire breaks out at the opposite end of the house. With interconnected alarms you can be alerted to the danger before its to late.

New legislation specifies the type, positioning, and interconnectedness of alarms, which are critical factors for an early warning and quick escape.

For existing dwellings

From 1 January 2017

  • Existing smoke alarms manufactured more than 10 years ago must be replaced with photoelectric smoke alarms which comply with Australian Standards (AS) 3786-2014. (Note: the date should be stamped on the back)
  • Smoke alarms that do not operate when tested must be replaced immediately.
  • Existing hardwired smoke alarms that need replacement, must be replaced with a hardwired photoelectric smoke alarm.It is also recommended that:
    • smoke alarms be either hardwired or
    • powered by a non-removable 10-year battery; and
    • ionisation smoke alarms be replaced with a photoelectric type as soon as possible.
  • For the best protection smoke alarms should be installed on each storey:
    • in every bedroom
    • in hallways which connect bedrooms and the rest of the dwelling
    • if there is no hallway, between the bedrooms and other parts of the storey; and
    • if there are no bedrooms on a storey, at least one smoke alarm should be installed in the most likely path of travel to exit the dwelling.
  • All smoke alarms should be interconnected.
  • To get everyone out safely during a house fire, it is essential to also have a well-practised fire escape plan.

From 1 January 2027

All private homes, townhouses and units will require hardwired photoelectric, interconnected smoke alarms. If a hardwired smoke alarm cannot be installed, non-removable 10-year battery smoke alarms can be installed in place.

The legislation requires smoke alarms must be installed in the following locations:

 

 

 

 

 

  • 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.

About photoelectric alarms

Photoelectric alarms, also known as optical or photo-optical, detect visible particles of combustion and respond to a wide range of fires.

For dwellings being sold, leased or an existing lease renewed

From 1 January 2017

  • Existing smoke alarms manufactured more than 10 years ago must be replaced with photoelectric smoke alarms which comply with Australian Standards (AS) 3786-2014. (Note: the date should be stamped on the back)
  • Smoke alarms that do not operate when tested must be replaced immediately.
  • Existing hardwired smoke alarms that need replacement, must be replaced with a hardwired photoelectric smoke alarm.
  • It is also recommended that:
    • smoke alarms be either hardwired or
    • powered by a non-removable 10-year battery; and
    • ionisation smoke alarms be replaced with photoelectric type as soon as possible.
  • For the best protection smoke alarms should be installed on each storey:
    • in every bedroom
    • in hallways which connect bedrooms and the rest of the dwelling
    • if there is no hallway, between the bedrooms and other parts of the storey; and
    • if there are no bedrooms on a storey, at least one smoke alarm should be installed in the most likely path of travel to exit the dwelling.
  • All smoke alarms should be interconnected.
  • To get everyone out safely during a house fire, it is essential to also have a well-practised fire escape plan.
  • Existing landlord’s and tenant’s obligations continue. Property sellers must continue to lodge a Form 24 stating the requirements of the legislation have been met. See New Smoke Alarm Legislation for more details.

From 1 January 2022

  • All homes or units being sold or leased, or existing leases renewed, will require the installation of hardwired photoelectric, interconnected smoke alarms. If a hardwired smoke alarm cannot be installed, non-removable 10-year battery smoke alarms can be installed in place.
  • Smoke alarms in the dwelling must:
    • be photoelectric (AS3786-2014); and
    • not also contain an ionisation sensor; and
    • Be hardwired to the mains power supply with a backup power source (i.e. battery), although dwellings which were existing prior to 1 Jan 2017 can be hardwired or powered by a non-removable 10-year battery, or a combination of both.
    • be interconnected with every other smoke alarm in the dwelling so all activate together.

The legislation requires smoke alarms must be installed in the following locations:

 

 

 

 

 

  • 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.

If a smoke alarm which is hardwired to the domestic power supply needs replacement, it must be replaced with a hardwired photoelectric smoke alarm.

New dwellings and dwellings being substantially renovated

From 1 January 2017

  • All new homes or units and substantially renovated homes or units that are subject to a building application submitted from 1 January 2017, will require the installation of hardwired, photoelectric interconnected smoke alarms.
  • Smoke alarms in the dwelling must:
    • be photoelectric (AS3786-2014); and
    • not also contain an ionisation sensor; and
    • be hardwired to the mains power supply with a secondary power source (i.e. battery); and
    • be interconnected with every other smoke alarm in the dwelling so all activate together.

The legislation requires smoke alarms must be installed in the following locations:

 

 

 

 

 

  • 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.
  • Smoke alarms must be hardwired, or for existing dwellings, they can also be powered by a non-removable 10-year battery.

To get everyone out safely during a house fire, it is essential to also have a well-practised fire escape plan.

What’s required by law?

When it is time for your property’s alarms to be upgraded, those alarms must:

  • be photoelectric and comply with Australian Standard 3786-2014
  • not also contain an ionisation sensor; and
  • be less than 10 years old; and
  • operate when tested; and
  • be interconnected with every other ‘required’ smoke alarm in the dwelling so all activate together.

Any existing smoke alarm being replaced from 1 January 2017 must be a photoelectric-type alarm which complies with Australian Standard 3786-2014.

If a smoke alarm which is hardwired to the domestic power supply needs replacement, it must be replaced with a hardwired photoelectric smoke alarm.

In existing domestic dwellings, it is possible to have a combination of smoke alarms (240v and battery operated) and interconnectivity can be both wired and wireless.

About photoelectric alarms

Photoelectric smoke alarms, also known as optical or photo-optical, detect visible particles of combustion.

They respond to a wide range of fires, but are particularly responsive to smouldering fires and the dense smoke given off by foam-filled furnishings or overheated PVC wiring.

Advantages

  • Good for smouldering fire and dense smoke
  • Not as prone to cooking nuisance alarms
  • Contain no radioactive material
  • Suitable for general use.

Your protection against fire increases with the quality and type of smoke alarm that is installed. Research indicates that photoelectric smoke alarms are generally more effective across a wider range of fires experienced in homes.