Author: Ben

These new laws were introduced in Queensland due to several house fires which resulted in multiple fatalities.

Had the dwellings in each instance been fitted with functioning wireless interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms the victims may have stood a chance of surviving.

Early detection = early alarm = early escape from a burning building. When the fire occurred, it was not only the flames themselves which presented as a hazard – most victims were first overcome by breathing in fumes and thick smoke.

Palace Backpackers Fire – Childers

In June 2000 a resident of the Childers Palace Backpackers Hostel maliciously lit a fire inside. The fire quickly spread throughout the timber building. Unfortunately the hostel did not have working smoke detectors or alarms and fifteen young people died as a result. The after effects of this tragic event are still evident on the local township to this day.

The arsonist was captured by police and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Slacks Creek House Fire – Brisbane

A few minutes before midnight on 23rd August 2011, a  fire tore through a house in the suburb of Slacks Creek, South Brisbane.

This fire caused the greatest loss of life in a domestic house fire in Australian history, with eleven people (including many children) dying due to inhaling toxic smoke.

A finding from the 2014 Coronial Inquest stated that;
‘Once this particular fire started, it is likely that some or all of the deaths would have been prevented if the sleeping occupants had been quickly awoken and had realised that they needed to leave the house as quickly as possible … smoke alarms were either not present in the dwelling or were not maintained’.

Many prescriptive requirements and recommendations from the Coronial Inquest were subsequently incorporated into the QLD Building Fire Safety (Domestic Smoke Alarms) Legislation Amendment Regulation 2016.

The legislation can be read here;
https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/view/pdf/asmade/sl-2016-0221

The two key pieces of legislation in QLD are called the Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990 and the Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008.

The goals of the legislation are to ensure that all fire safety installations (including smoke alarms) within a building are maintained.

Part 5A of the Building Fire Safety Regulation deals with interconnected smoke alarm requirements for domestic dwellings and says smoke alarms must;

  • Comply with the Australian Standard AS 3786:2014
  • Contain a photoelectric sensor, and not also contain an ionization sensor
  • Be hardwired into a building’s power supply or powered by a non-removable minimum 10-year lifespan battery

The QLD Fire and Emergency Services Act says that from 1st January 2022 all rental properties in QLD must have smoke alarms which;

  • Are less than 10 years old
  • Be interconnected with every other smoke alarm in the building so that all activate together
  • Operate when function tested

Additionally, these requirements will become mandatory for ALL dwellings in Queensland by 1st January 2027.

If you would like to read the QLD legislation in full, direct links are provided below.

https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/view/pdf/inforce/2018-07-01/sl-2008-0160https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/view/pdf/inforce/current/act-1990-010

Photoelectric Smoke Alarms – New QLD Legislation – Landlords

Video courtesy Queensland Fire and Emergency Website.

Photoelectric Smoke Alarms – New QLD Legislation – Owners

Video courtesy Queensland Fire and Emergency Website.

Photoelectric Smoke Alarms – New QLD Legislation – Renters

Video courtesy Queensland Fire and Emergency Website.

Commissioner Wants Most Common Smoke Alarm Banned

Video courtesy Channel 7 News.

New QLD Smoke Alarm Laws – Residential Tenancies Authority and QLD Fire and Emergency Services Joint Webinar