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QLD Smoke Alarm Legislation Update

QLD Smoke alarm legislation requirements

With this year’s horrific bushfire season still fresh in our memories, ensuring your home is compliant and set up to give your family the best possible chance of survival in a fire situation should be a top priority. As we head into winter, the risk of fire increases with the use of appliances like electric blankets, clothes dryers, and heaters.

Modern homes feature a much higher number of items made from synthetic materials than those we built and lived in years ago. This change means that fires advance at a much faster rate than they used to, however, the speed at which smoke alarms activate has not changed that much over time. To help ensure residents of all ages and mobility levels have time to get out of the house safely in a fire emergency a system of interconnected smoke alarms was developed.

The interconnected smoke alarm system works by triggering the alarm in various areas throughout the house regardless of where the smoke was detected. For example, smoke detected from a smoldering fire in the kitchen will activate the alarms in all bedrooms alerting residents instantly even if they have the door closed, music playing or are asleep.

A 2017 study by Fire & Rescue NSW found that despite only 1% of fires starting in the bedroom these fires attributed to 36% of fatalities*. These results show how important it is to have an effective detection and warning system in all the bedrooms or sleeping areas of your home.

Fire Origin Chart - FRNSW
Fire area of origin - image FRNSW
Fire Material Chart - image FRNSW
Form of material first ignited - image FRNSW

Common causes of residential fires include:

  • Unattended cooking.
  • Electrical appliances and faults.
  • Damaged electrical leads.
  • Heaters, cigarettes, and candles.
  • Clothes dryers.
  • Overloaded electrical sockets.

QLD smoke alarm legislation & how it affects your Gold Coast home

The updated Queensland Smoke Alarm Legislation which came into effect in Jan 2017 requires homes (dwellings) throughout the state to install new or upgrade their smoke alarm systems at various stages over the ten year roll-out period.

The new regulation is aimed at providing an effective early warning system for every person in the home, regardless of where they are or where the fire starts. It hopes to achieve this by placing photoelectric style interconnected smoke alarms in all sleeping areas of the home as well as in the halls, stairwells, walkways, or likely path of travel to exit the house.

Photoelectric style smoke alarms where chosen as they are more effective across a range of fires commonly experienced in homes. They respond faster than other styles to smoldering fires or the dense smoke given off by overheated PVC wiring or foam-filled furnishings.

When do I need to upgrade my smoke alarms?

Existing homes where the smoke alarm is more than 10 years old or doesn’t work when tested (remember to test regularly) must be replaced with a photoelectric smoke alarm from January 2017.

The legislation roll-out affects different homes in 3 stages as follows:

Interconnected hardwired or non-removable 10 year battery powered smoke alarm systems are required for:

  • all new dwellings and any substantially renovated dwellings from Jan 2017.
  • all domestic dwellings leased or sold from Jan 2022.
  • all other domestic dwellings from Jan 2027.

Find out more about the legislation that applies to your situation:

Smoke alarm upgrades

Our electricians recommend getting your home smoke alarm system upgrade before the various deadlines to ensure your home complies with the legislation but, more importantly, to provide your family with the best possible chance of survival in a fire situation.

If you have any questions or would like professional advice on how best to upgrade your smoke alarms on the Gold Coast contact Pugin Power at 1300 150 753 or complete our electrician booking form request today.