Smoke Alarm Myths Busted

Close-up Of A Person's Hand Using Screwdriver To Install Smoke Detector On Ceiling At Home

Smoke alarms save lives. If we can just get that fact out of the way, then you can appreciate why the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services wants to make sure every Queensland household knows the facts when it comes to installing smoke alarms in your home.

Whether you own your own home, you are a landlord or a tenant, it is important to understand what your smoke alarm responsibilities are. These are legislative requirements, and you must comply with the Smoke Alarm Legislation. Some of these laws are in effect now and some come into effect in 2027.

This information has come via Queensland Fire and Emergency Services. Should you have any specific questions or require further clarification, please email [email protected]

Disclaimer: The below information is a guide. Homeowners, tenants and landlords should refer to the appropriate legislation and source documents being • Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990 • Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008 • Building Regulation 2006 • National Construction Code 2016 • Australian Standard (AS) 3786-2014 • Land Title Act 1994.

Smoke alarm legislation

Document source https://www.qfes.qld.gov.au/community-safety/smokealarms/documents/New-Smoke-Alarm-Legislation.pdf

Prescribed locations for smoke alarms

Where practical, smoke alarms must be placed on the ceiling. Smoke alarms must not be placed: a) within 300mm of a corner of a ceiling and a wall; b) within 300mm of a light fitting; c) within 400mm of an air-conditioning vent; d) within 400mm of the blades of a ceiling fan.

There are special requirements for stairways, sloping ceilings, and ceilings with exposed beams. Specific requirements will be explained in the Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008. If impractical for the prescribed location requirements to be met (e.g. may be affected by steam from shower or fumes from cooking), the owner may put the alarm at another location that will provide a warning to occupants of the dwelling.

Fire alarm with smoke around it

You own your own dwelling (existing dwelling)

NOW

  • When you replace your smoke alarms they must be of a photoelectric type. The smoke alarm needs to comply with the Australian Standard (AS) 3786-2014.
  • You must replace all smoke alarms manufactured more than 10 years ago.
  • Test your smoke alarms. Any that don’t sound an alarm immediately must be replaced.
  • Existing hardwired smoke alarms that need replacement must be replaced with a hardwired smoke alarm.

By JAN 2027

  • All smoke alarms must be Photoelectric ((AS) 3786-2014) and not also contain an ionisation sensor.
  • All your smoke alarms need to be under 10 years old.
  • All your smoke alarms need to operate when tested
  • Your smoke alarms need to be interconnected with every other smoke alarm in your house so they all activate together. This means if one alarm goes off, they all do.
  • They need to be installed in hallways which connect bedrooms and the rest of the dwelling; or b) if there is no hallway, between the bedrooms and other parts of the storey; and c) 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 need to be either hardwired or powered by a non-removable 10-year battery.

Dwellings being sold, leased or when an existing lease is renewed

NOW

  • When the landlord replaces your smoke alarms they must be of a photoelectric type. The smoke alarm needs to comply with the Australian Standard (AS) 3786-2014
  • The landlord must replace all smoke alarms manufactured more than 10 years ago.
  • Test your smoke alarms. Any that don’t sound an alarm immediately must be replaced.
  • Existing hardwired smoke alarms that need replacement must be replaced with a hardwired smoke alarm.
  • Property sellers must continue to lodge a Form 24 with the Queensland Land Registry Office stating the requirements of the smoke alarm legislation have been met.

From Jan 2022

  • Alarms must be Photoelectric ()AS) 3786-2014) and not also contain an ionisation sensor
  • All your smoke alarms need to be under 10 years old
  • All your smoke alarms need to operate when tested
  • Your smoke alarms need to be interconnected with every other smoke alarm in your house so they all activate together. This means if one alarm goes off, they all do.
  • They need to be installed in hallways which connect bedrooms and the rest of the dwelling; or b) if there is no hallway, between the bedrooms and other parts of the storey; and c) 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 need to be either hardwired or powered by a non-removable 10-year battery

New homes and those being substantially renovated

NOW

  • All your smoke alarms must be Photoelectric ((AS) 3786-2014) and not also contain an ionisation sensor
  • All your smoke alarms need to be under 10 years old
  • All your smoke alarms need to operate when tested
  • Your smoke alarms need to be interconnected with every other smoke alarm in your house so they all activate together. This means if one alarm goes off, they all do.
  • They need to be installed in hallways which connect bedrooms and the rest of the dwelling; or b) if there is no hallway, between the bedrooms and other parts of the storey; and c) 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 need to be either hardwired or powered by a non-removable 10-year battery

Smoke Alarms: Frequently asked questions

Please refer to the QFES Frequently asked questions page about fire alarms here https://www.qfes.qld.gov.au/community-safety/smokealarms/Pages/faq.aspx

How do I know if my smoke alarm complies with Australian Standard (AS) 3786-2014 These numbers will be written clearly on the smoke alarm itself (not necessarily on the packaging it comes in)

What is a photoelectric smoke alarm? Photoelectric smoke alarms are able to “see” smoke and will alert you early so you can escape.

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