Category: Info

Smoke alarm regulations vary slightly across different states and territories in Australia, contributing to widespread confusion, particularly in Queensland, where a phased implementation of new smoke alarm legislation is underway. In this updated 2024 knowledge series, we aim to debunk several myths and misconceptions about smoke alarm requirements. By providing direct links to official government sources and referenced legislation, readers can authenticate the information for accuracy and currency.

One frequently asked question is ‘must smoke alarms be hardwired in Queensland?’. The concise answer is no, not always – it depends on the type of dwelling and specific circumstances. While many houses require hardwired smoke alarms, an equal number allow the use of non-removable battery-powered alternatives, maintaining full legal compliance. Read on to discover the instances when Queensland law mandates the use of hardwired smoke alarms and when lithium battery-powered options are permissible.

What is a hardwired smoke alarm?

A hardwired smoke alarm is one connected directly to a dwelling’s 240-volt mains electricity supply. Unlike lithium battery-powered counterparts, hardwired smoke alarms cannot be self-installed due to wiring requirements and should be professionally installed by a qualified and licensed electrician. Although they draw power from the household mains, these alarms must also include an internal battery backup to ensure continuous operation during temporary disruptions in mains electricity, such as power outages during thunderstorms—a not uncommon occurrence in Queensland.

When is it mandatory to install hardwired smoke alarms in Queensland?

In Queensland, there are three scenarios where it is a statutory requirement to install 240-volt hardwired smoke alarms in a residential homes. They are as follows:

  1. If you are constructing a brand new home
  2. If you are performing a substantial renovation
  3. If you are replacing an existing hardwired smoke alarm

1) If you are constructing a brand new home

If you are constructing a brand new home in QLD then hardwired smoke alarms are required as part of the building approval process – Queensland’s Building Regulations 2021 (part 4 – smoke alarms for domestic dwellings) and Australia’s National Construction Code 2022 Volume Two and Part 9.5 of the associated Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) Housing Provisions detail minimum necessary standards for the construction of new domestic dwellings, including the standards for fire safety and smoke alarms.

Page 14 of Queensland’s Building Regulations 2021 states that when constructing a new home, the smoke alarms must be hardwired to the domestic dwelling’s electricity supply; and must be interconnected to every other smoke alarm installed in the dwelling.

2) If you are performing a substantial renovation

If you are performing a substantial renovation to your QLD property, then 240V hardwired smoke alarms must be installed as part of the renovation process. Division 5A (section 104RBA) of the QLD Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990 states that hardwired smoke alarms must be installed when a substantial renovation is being performed to an existing QLD dwelling. The Act goes on to define a ‘substantial renovation’ as work carried out under a building development approval for alterations, or if the total building works surpass 50 per cent of the dwelling’s volume over three years.

QLD Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) website also states that as part of a building approval process requiring a Building Certifier, all new homes and renovations should have the required smoke alarms installed pursuant to the requirements of the National Construction Code (NCC).

3) If you are replacing an existing hardwired smoke alarm

Division 5A (section 104RC) of the QLD Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990 states that if the smoke alarm being replaced was hardwired to the domestic dwelling’s electricity supply, then the replacement smoke alarm must also be hardwired to the dwelling’s electricity supply (i.e. you can’t remove a 240V hardwired smoke alarm and replace it with a battery powered smoke alarm).

Outside of the 3 scenarios described above, it is legal and perfectly acceptable in QLD to install smoke alarms which are powered by a non-replaceable 10-year battery and maintain compliance. As there is no wiring involved, battery powered smoke alarms can also be DIY installed.

If there are some existing hardwired smoke detectors in your home, a combination of both hard wired and wireless 10-year battery powered alarms can even be installed to meet compliance, while offering a more affordable DIY approach. For example, replace the existing 240V hardwired smoke alarms in your home with new hard wired, and then in those extra locations where smoke alarms are still needed (and none installed), you can install wireless 10-year battery powered smoke alarms and have them all interconnected with one another – compliance is achieved.

Both the QLD Government and the QLD Fire and Emergency Services state on their websites at the links below.

QLD Fire and Emergency Services state here; ‘An existing dwelling with battery operated smoke alarms may replace them when required with battery operated photoelectric type smoke alarms that meet the Australian Standard 3786–2014.

The QLD Government states here; ‘alarms should also be hard-wired to the 240v power supply OR powered by a non-removable 10 year battery’. and here ‘there are compliant smoke alarms available (e.g. wireless alarms) which don’t need electrical work to be carried out during installation. A licensed electrician will need to be engaged if the installation involves electrical work’.

Smoke alarms powered by a non-removeable 10-year battery offer an affordable solution to smoke alarm installation in your QLD property. Unlike hardwired alarms, there is no electrical wiring required which means they are often easier and more cost effective to install.

When purchasing smoke alarms with a non-removeable 10-year battery just be sure that they are the photoelectric type, they are less than 10 years old from manufacture date (it must be printed on the alarm), they comply with Australian Standard 3786:2014 and that you install them in all the prescribed locations in your home as required by the Building Fire Safety Regulations 2008 (Part5A).

We trust that you’ve found this informative article helpful in understanding the three instances in Queensland where the installation of a hardwired smoke alarm is mandatory in residential properties. Beyond these specified situations, it’s entirely acceptable for compliance and fully within the bounds of the law to install smoke alarms powered by a non-removable 10-year battery through DIY methods.

We love smoke alarms! Feel free to call us with any questions you may have 0478 596 402

Referenced legislation in this article:

Queensland Building Regulations 2021 (Part 4)

Australia’s National Construction Code 2022 Volume Two (note: formerly called the Building Code of Australia BCA).

Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) Housing Provisions Part 9.5 Smoke alarms

QLD Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990

QLD Fire and Emergency Services Website – smoke alarms for new builds or renovationshttps://www.qfes.qld.gov.au/prepare/fire/smoke-alarms/new-builds-or-renovations

Queensland Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008

As the Queensland 2023 festive season approaches, warmer temperatures, holiday decorations and the joy of gatherings fill the air. However, amidst the celebrations, it’s crucial to prioritize Christmas fire safety to safeguard our homes and loved ones. Here are some essential tips to ensure a safe and merry Christmas in Queensland this year!

Mindful Tree Placement: Choose a fresh, green Christmas tree and keep it well-hydrated. Position it away from any potential heat sources. A dry Christmas tree can quickly become a fire hazard, so water it regularly and dispose of it promptly after the holidays.

Position your tree strategically – make sure it’s not blocking any exit routes. This ensures that, in the unfortunate event of a fire, everyone can easily evacuate the home.

Interconnected Smoke Alarms: Equip your home with interconnected smoke alarms inside every bedroom, hallway outside the bedrooms, and have at least one on each level of the dwelling. Press the test button on the alarm to check they are in good working order (i.e. so if one smoke alarm activates, then they all activate). Create a fire escape plan and share it with your family and any guests who may be staying with you. Keep fire extinguishers handy, and make sure everyone knows their location and how to use them. Spending 10 minutes to review this information with your loved ones could avoid becoming a Christmas tragedy.

Lights Check: Inspect all Christmas lights before decorating your tree and home. Discard any frayed or damaged cords and replace burnt-out bulbs promptly. Choose LED lights, which emit less heat than traditional incandescent lights, reducing the risk of fire. Be wary of non-compliant cheap imports and ensure your lights have the appropriate Australian electrical safety regulatory compliance mark (RCM). Make it a habit to turn off all Christmas lights and decorations before going to bed or leaving the house. This simple step not only conserves energy but also reduces the risk of electrical malfunctions that could lead to a fire.

Candle Care: Candles add a traditional warm glow to the festive atmosphere, but they can also pose a fire risk. Keep candles away from flammable materials such as window curtains, place them in stable holders, and never leave them unattended. Consider using realistic looking flameless LED candles as a safer modern alternative.

Power Board Wisdom: Avoid overloading electrical wall outlets and power boards. Spread out the use of multiple appliances and decorations across different outlets to prevent overloading and subsequent overheating. Choose a power board which has in-built overload protection.

Cooking Vigilance: The holiday season often involves elaborate meals and festive cooking. Stay vigilant in the kitchen, and never leave cooking unattended. Keep flammable items, such as kitchen tea towels and oven mitts, away from open flames and other heat sources. Keep a fire blanket nearby to help extinguish any cooking flames.

By following these Christmas tree fire safety tips and ensuring you have interconnected smoke alarms installed in your home, you can create a secure environment for your loved ones to enjoy the Queensland holiday season without worry. Prioritizing fire safety ensures that the only thing sparking during your celebrations is the joy of the season. Merry Christmas Queensland! Thank you all for your fantastic support throughout 2023, and we look forward to another incredibly busy and exciting year in 2024!

Best Wishes and Happy New Year to All!

Questions? We love talking smoke alarms! Feel free to call us 0478 596 402

Wireless Interconnected Photoelectric Smoke Alarms Australia

www.photoelectricsmokealarms.com.au

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) have more helpful information about Christmas tree fire safety – watch the video below and refer to their information sheet which is available for download here.

The rising costs of essentials like housing, food, and soaring utilities bills, have forced many individuals and families in QLD to make difficult financial choices, often compromising on safety measures that could prevent devastating house fires.

One of the primary casualties of heightened cost of living is the ability to invest in quality home maintenance and fire safety equipment. With limited budgets, individuals may opt for cheaper alternatives or delay essential repairs, inadvertently increasing the risk of fire hazards. Overloaded electrical circuits, faulty wiring, and neglected appliances become ticking time bombs in homes where financial constraints take precedence over safety concerns.

Additionally, the pressure to cut corners extends to everyday items such as household interconnected smoke alarms and fire extinguishers. Outdated or poor quality interconnected smoke alarms may malfunction or prove ineffective in the crucial moments when swift action is required. Studies have shown a direct correlation between subpar fire safety equipment and increased property damage and casualties during house fires.

In a recent article published in Queensland’s The Courier Mail newspaper, University of Wollongong fire expert Dr Owen Price said the rising cost of living was likely affecting fire risk within homes as many of the steps people could take to protect themselves required money.

“A lot of people realise they are at risk, but they often don’t do anything about it and when cost of living comes in it’s often lowest on people’s priorities,” he said.

Cash strapped families also tended to live in cheaper, older housing, which was more vulnerable to fire, Dr Price said.

The stress induced by financial strain can also lead to a decrease in mental well-being, which further compounds the risk of fire incidents. Anxiety and fatigue can contribute to forgetfulness, neglect, and even a diminished ability to respond promptly to emergency situations. In households grappling with cost of living pressures, the mental toll may impair the residents’ ability to maintain a vigilant stance on fire prevention.

The cost-driven choices people make during periods of financial constraint may inadvertently compromise their fire safety and well-being. The repercussions of these decisions are profound. House fires, once ignited, can escalate rapidly, and inadequate fire safety measures can only exacerbate the situation. The resulting loss of property and, tragically, sometimes lives, underscores the urgency of addressing the intricate balance between cost of living pressures and overall home fire safety, including quality interconnected smoke alarms.

Please feel free to use our discount coupon code GDAY$5 during the checkout process to help offset the cost of your next purchase of interconnected smoke alarms.

In every home, fire safety is a high priority. Smoke alarms have long been a crucial component of fire prevention, alerting us to potential dangers. However, for those of us who are hard of hearing, traditional smoke alarms may not be sufficient in ensuring safety as the alarms themselves may not be heard. Fortunately, Red smoke alarms have come to the rescue with a smart solution. They’ve introduced a strobe light and a vibrating pad (model RHIS), to make sure everyone can be alerted to fire hazards, regardless of their hearing ability.

Red smoke alarms strobe light and vibrating pad – model RHIS

The Red smoke alarms strobe light and vibrating pad, model RHIS, is an accessory that can connect wirelessly with other Red smoke alarms and Red heat alarms. The strobe light element emits a repeated high intensity flash when the smoke alarm goes off, making sure you get an incredibly powerful visual alert. And for those who are sleeping, the vibrating pad goes under your pillow or mattress and vibrates strongly to wake you up. Watch the video below to see how the strobe light and vibrating pad functions.

Wireless interconnection with other Red smoke alarms and Red heat alarms

What is convenient is that the vibrating pad and strobe light can be paired wirelessly with other Red smoke alarms and heat alarms, so a comprehensive interconnected network can be created in your home. If one alarm senses smoke or heat, all the others in the network, along with the strobe light and vibrating pad, will activate simultaneously.

Plugs into household mains power and has a back-up battery

The Red smoke alarms strobe light and vibrating pad is mains powered, so it plugs into your regular household power socket. Plus, it has a rechargeable battery backup to keep it running during power outages. Just remember to replace the backup battery after five years for optimal performance.

Flexible and easy DIY installation

When it comes to installation, you have some flexibility. You can mount the strobe light on the wall, and it is easy to do with the included screw fixings and mounting bracket. Or, you can just place it on your bedside table or dresser. The vibrating pad goes under your pillow or inside the pillowcase, and the best part is there’s no complicated wiring involved which means it can be DIY installed.

How much does the Red smoke alarms strobe light and vibrating pad cost?

The Red smoke alarm strobe light and vibrating pad, model RHIS, retails for $299. If you add a Red smoke alarm wireless battery powered model R10RF for $79.95, the total cost is $378.95. Red smoke alarms provide a more cost-effective solution when compared with the likes of government subsidised brands such as Brooks and Bellman, which are still more expensive by comparison.

Summary

In conclusion, fire safety is something we all need to take seriously, and nobody should be at a higher risk just because they are hard of hearing. By incorporating the Red smoke alarms strobe light and vibrating pad (model RHIS) and following the legal requirements for smoke alarm installation, everyone, regardless of their hearing abilities, is protected from the dangers of fire. It’s a small step toward a safer, more inclusive world where everyone can sleep soundly, knowing their homes are equipped with the best in Australian fire safety technology.

As the winter chill gradually gives way to the warmth of a Queensland spring, we find ourselves emerging from the cozy hibernation of the colder months. Spring cleaning, gardening and home maintenance tasks become top priorities, and one crucial activity that should not be overlooked is the checking of your interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms. Whilst this may not seem like the most glamorous of springtime duties, it is undeniably one of the most important ones. The primary purpose of smoke alarms is to protect you and your loved ones in the event of a fire. By checking them in the spring, you ensure that they are in good working condition and ready to alert you in case of an emergency.

Here’s how you should make checking your smoke alarms a regular springtime ritual.

Clean your smoke detectors:

Did you know that the changing of the seasons can have an impact on your photoelectric smoke alarms? Over time, dust and debris can accumulate inside them, reducing their efficiency and increasing the possibility for nuisance alarms. Whilst you’re already in spring cleaning mode, why not take a few extra minutes to ensure your alarms are fully clean and operational? Gently vacuum around the exterior shell of your smoke detectors with the soft brush attachment from a vacuum cleaner to remove any cobwebs, dust build-up etc. which may have occurred over the winter months.

Smoke alarm battery check:

Smoke alarms often rely on batteries for power, and these batteries can weaken or die over time. Fortunately most modern smoke detectors are now equipped with 10-year long life lithium batteries which are sealed inside the smoke alarm itself (after 10 years the entire smoke alarm is simply swapped out for a new one). However, if you still have an older style smoke alarm which uses 9V replaceable batteries then spring is a great time to either replace the old batteries with fresh ones, or our recommendation is to upgrade to new alarms with 10-year long life batteries. So, go ahead, replace those dusty old 9V replaceable battery smoke alarms in springtime with the newest photoelectric smoke alarms equipped with 10-year long life batteries, and ensure your alarms are always ready to do their job.

Test your smoke alarms:

Testing your interconnected smoke alarms is a relatively quick and straightforward task. You don’t need any special tools or expertise. Smoke alarms have a ‘test’ button that you can press to ensure they are working correctly. It’s a small effort for a significant safety boost. In QLD the smoke alarms must be interconnected (so if one smoke alarm activates, they all do). When testing your smoke alarms be sure to check that all the smoke alarms are interconnected and activate together, usually within about 10-15 seconds of the test button being pressed on the first smoke alarm. If not, it’s time for some troubleshooting or possibly a replacement.

Smoke alarm expiry date:

Smoke alarms don’t last forever and should be replaced 10 years from the date of manufacture. According to Australian Standard 3786:2014, the smoke alarm date of manufacture should be printed on the rear of the smoke alarm – go on, have a look. If they’re older than 10 years then they should be replaced with newer models. Why? Photoelectric sensors and other internal components can degrade over time, leading to a less effective smoke alarm.

Location of your smoke alarms:

Whilst you’re at it, double-check the placement of your interconnected smoke alarms. Are they strategically positioned throughout your home as per Queensland smoke alarm laws? In Queensland there should be one smoke detector inside each bedroom, the interconnecting hallway outside the bedrooms, and at least one on each level of your home. If there is no interconnecting hallway outside the bedrooms then a smoke alarm must be installed outside the bedroom and other parts of the storey. Proper placement can make all the difference in early detection.

Teach your family about the smoke alarms:

Checking your interconnected smoke alarms in the spring also presents an opportunity to educate your family about fire safety (especially children). Show them how to test the alarms and what to do and who to call in case they hear one go off. This knowledge can be invaluable in an emergency situation. Phone 000 (triple zero) for the Queensland Fire Brigade in a real life fire emergency situation.

So there you have it, as you embark on your spring cleaning rituals and home maintenance tasks, don’t forget to check your smoke alarms. It’s a simple yet essential step to ensure the safety of your home and loved ones. With working interconnected smoke alarms in place, you can enjoy the beauty and rejuvenation of a QLD spring with the peace of mind that you are well-prepared for any potential fire-related emergencies. So, make it a springtime tradition to give your smoke alarms the attention they deserve – because the safety of your loved ones always comes first.

We love talking smoke alarms! Feel free to phone us on 0478 596 402

www.wireless-interconnected-photoelectric-smoke-alarms-australia.com

Queensland was rocked by another devastating house fire tragedy earlier this month when police confirmed that five young brothers and their 34-year-old father died in a house blaze on Russell Island, off Brisbane’s Redland Bay. Emergency services rushed to the home on Todman Street just after 6am on Sunday 8th August to find the two-storey house fully engulfed, with two neighbouring properties also alight. A 21-year-old woman thought to have been inside the house when the fire broke out managed to escape with injuries.

The Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Assistant Commissioner, John Cawcutt, said the blaze was “one of the worst fires we’ve had for a long time”. Fire and Emergency Services Minister Mark Ryan also said the fire was a great tragedy. “Of course a very sad day for Queenslanders,” he said. “Our hearts break for those involved in the tragedy. It seems a tragic loss of life”. A forensic investigation is currently underway to determine how the fire started, and why the smoke alarms did not activate.

In terms of sheer loss of life from a single domestic house fire, the Russell Island fire tragedy is second only to the August 2011 Logan house fire, which was Australia’s deadliest house fire, causing the death of 11 family members. A coronial inquest could not establish the exact cause of that blaze but a coroner found there was a ‘reasonable prospect’ that all or some of the victims could have escaped if smoke alarms had been working. That tragedy led to the introduction of new QLD laws for interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms inside every bedroom, hallways outside the bedrooms, and on every level of Queensland homes.

Why didn’t the smoke detectors go off in the Russell Island house fire?
The rented two storey Queenslander home allegedly had smoke detectors installed, however the female survivor of the blaze said she didn’t hear any smoke detectors activate, adding that concerns had previously been expressed about them. It remains unclear why the alarms didn’t activate and whether they were in working order. ‘With a fire of that intensity it will be difficult to know whether there were smoke alarms present or not but that will be part of the investigation,’ Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Deputy Commissioner Joanne Greenfield said. It is understood the home was transported to the site around 2017. ‘So thinking about the legislation that was in place at that time it would have required one hardwired smoke alarm, that’s if it was following the legislation,’ QLD Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Leach said.

A close family friend issued a harrowing plea to all Australians on the behalf of the Children’s surviving mother, stating that she ‘just wants the world to know – check your smoke alarms and hold your babies’.

What are QLD’s smoke alarm laws?

From 1st January 2022, all properties being sold or leased for rent in Queensland were required by law to have smoke alarms installed as per below (on 1st January 2027 the law is being extended to cover all QLD homeowners and occupiers, irrespective of whether the property is being sold or rented out).

In addition to the above, rental property managers and landlords are required to test and clean smoke alarms and replace any flat or nearly flat batteries within 30 days before the start of a tenancy. This also includes a renewal tenancy.

Australia has experienced a surge in the adoption of lithium-ion battery technology in recent times, and QLD is no exception. These small, lightweight, and versatile batteries have revolutionized various aspects of modern life, powering everything from smartphones to e-scooters, e-bikes, and home renewable energy storage systems. However, this remarkable advancement is accompanied by a concerning increase in lithium-ion battery fires in homes across Queensland.

Data compiled from each Australian state fire department reveals that since 2021, more than 450 fires related to lithium-ion batteries have occurred in Australia, with 157 of them in Queensland alone. Improper battery charging practices have been identified as one of the primary causes behind these alarming incidents. When consumers use incompatible battery chargers or leave their electronic devices, like e-scooters, charging unattended for extended periods, overcharging and overheating of the lithium-ion battery can occur.

Another significant cause of lithium-ion battery fires is manufacturing defects in either the battery charger or the battery itself. Poor quality control during production can lead to internal faults, increasing the risk of overheating and fire. Additionally, improper storage or transportation of lithium-ion batteries can cause short circuits and subsequent fires. To minimize this risk, it is crucial to avoid purchasing cheap lithium-ion batteries and chargers from unregulated online marketplaces and to opt for original equipment manufacturer (OEM) products.

The nature of use for e-scooters and e-bikes exposes their batteries to rough handling and environmental elements, making them susceptible to damage that can result in internal short-circuits and fires. Even minor physical damage to the battery’s protective casing can create a pathway for ‘thermal runaway’, triggering a catastrophic fire event. When lithium-ion batteries fail, they undergo thermal runaway, leading to the violent bursting of battery cells, the release of toxic, flammable, and explosive gases, and an intense, self-sustaining fire. These fires are challenging to extinguish with water or regular fire extinguishers, and they can easily reignite after being put out.

Some may wonder about the lithium batteries used in photoelectric smoke alarms. However, these smoke alarms contain non-replaceable, non-rechargeable lithium batteries designed to deplete slowly and steadily over a 10-year lifespan. The lithium batteries are sealed inside the photoelectric smoke alarm itself. They do not undergo the repeated recharging process that lithium-ion batteries do, eliminating the associated fire and thermal runaway risk.

It is also essential to ensure that any photoelectric smoke alarm purchased meets the Australian Standard 3786:2014 and bears the official Australian Standard mark and the Regulatory Compliance Mark (RCM). The RCM signifies compliance with Australian electrical safety and electromagnetic compatibility regulations, as outlined in Australian Standard 3820:2020. By avoiding cheap knock-offs lacking these marks, consumers can ensure they are purchasing legitimate, safe electrical appliances.

Regulatory Compliance Mark (RCM)

The increase in lithium-ion battery fires necessitates a collaborative effort from manufacturers, regulators, and users to address this growing concern. While the advantages of lithium-ion batteries are undeniable, safety risks demand immediate attention. By enhancing safety regulations, improving manufacturing standards, and promoting responsible usage and recharging practices, Australia can fully embrace the lithium-ion battery revolution while ensuring a safer and more sustainable future for all. For more information on lithium-ion battery safety, individuals can refer to the QLD Fire and Emergency Services (QFES).

A recent fatal caravan fire in QLD has again sparked demands for a comprehensive review of Queensland’s smoke alarm laws for caravans and moveable dwellings. Emergency response teams were dispatched to the blaze in Upper Brookfield, located in the western suburbs of Brisbane, during the early hours of Saturday 20th May 2023. Upon arrival, firefighters encountered flames engulfing the van from all sides and tragically two people were discovered deceased inside the wreckage. This is not the first fatal caravan fire to occur in QLD.

Our previous blog post published only a few months ago identified caravan smoke alarm laws for each state. Shockingly, Queensland remains one of only three states in Australia where although ‘recommended’, compulsory smoke alarms are not mandated by law in caravans, campervans and other such moveable dwellings.

According to the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, it is recommended to have at least one operational photoelectric smoke alarm within the caravan’s sleeping area, as well as another alarm in the annex if it is used for sleeping purposes. Following this devastating incident, QLD Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk publicly expressed her intention to discuss the mandatory implementation of smoke alarms in mobile dwellings with the QFES Commissioner.

As reported by the Courier Mail newspaper;
‘Queensland Fire and Emergency Service officials are working on potential amendments to smoke alarm legislation for movable dwellings “The work is complex and requires further consultation with stakeholders,” a QFES spokesman said.
Fire and Emergency Services Minister Mark Ryan said: “We take advice from the experts on matters like this, and I have asked Queensland Fire and Emergency Services to expedite its consideration of this matter”. “QFES is preparing advice for the government about this issue,” he said. “We are always looking at ways to support community safety.”
“If there is more that can be done to support safety in relation to caravans and other mobile types of accommodation, the government will always give that careful consideration.”

Caravan fires have been a recurring concern over the years, with some distressing incidents occurring within Queensland. In 2022 a young father in Logan tragically died whilst protecting his partner and unborn child from a caravan fire which started due to a combusting e-scooter battery.
NSW laws have required that smoke alarms be installed in all new and existing moveable dwellings since 2011. The Brisbane Times magazine reported back in 2020 that a Queensland deputy coroner called for the state’s fire service to consider the mandatory installation of smoke alarms in all moveable dwellings after an army veteran died in a caravan park blaze near Lowood, west of Brisbane.

As mentioned in our last article – don’t allow yourself to become a statistic. Don’t wait until something is required by law as being the catalyst for change. If you own a caravan, campervan or other moveable home please be pro-active and make sure you have at least one working photoelectric smoke alarm installed today.

A new Australian Standard for smoke alarms, Australian Standard 3786:2023, was published by the Standards Australia Committee on February 17, 2023. This standard supersedes the previous version, Australian Standard 3786:2014.

It is common for Australian Standards to undergo updates, amendments, and supersessions over time. Australian Standard 3786, first released in 1990, has undergone at least 10 updates and reissues since its inception.

Several reasons led to the issuance of the new Australian Standard 3786:2023:

-Technological advancements: The standard needed to incorporate emerging smoke alarm technologies and evolving existing technologies. This ensures the standard remains relevant and reflects the current technology available in the market. For example, the new standard now includes provisions for WiFi smoke alarms, interconnected smoke alarms, and dual sensor smoke alarms that combine a carbon monoxide detector.

-Safety considerations: Safety is a crucial aspect of the standard. As new fire risks are identified and existing ones are better understood, the standard has been updated to address these concerns. Clearer guidelines for the safe usage of smoke alarms and associated testing protocols have been provided.

-International harmonization: In a globalized world, aligning standards across different countries and regions is essential for interoperability and mutual recognition of products. Australian Standard 3786:2023 is now aligned with the International Standard ISO 12239:2021 for smoke alarms using scattered light, transmitted light, or ionization.

-Feedback and continuous improvement: The development of Australian Standard 3786:2023 involved an iterative process that considered feedback from users, stakeholders, and experts. Committee members included the National Fire Industries Association, Australian Building Codes Board, Property Council of Australia, CSIRO, and the Fire Protection Association Australia.

The new Australian Standard 3786:2023 introduces several key changes compared to the old Australian Standard 3786:2014:

– Recognition of combination and multi-criteria smoke alarms, which provide multiple fire sensors within a single housing.
– Permission for the inclusion of a sensor unrelated to smoke detection, such as a carbon monoxide sensor, to create a dual carbon monoxide detector and smoke alarm product.
– Introduction of new requirements for mains-powered smoke alarms, temporary disablement facility, smoke alarms using radio frequency links, and assessment for wall-mounted smoke alarms.

Do I need to replace my smoke alarms which are compliant to Australian Standard 3786:2014, with new smoke alarms which are compliant to Australian Standard 3786:2023?

If you currently have smoke alarms compliant with Australian Standard 3786:2014, you are not required to replace them solely because of the release of Australian Standard 3786:2023. Compliance with a specific Australian Standard only becomes a legal requirement when it is referenced in legislation by the Australian government or other regulatory agency. At the time of writing this article, fire safety legislation in Queensland and the National Construction Code 2022 still reference Australian Standard 3786:2014. Therefore, legal compliance remains unchanged, and you should continue to comply with Australian Standard 3786:2014. It’s important to note that regardless of changes to the standard, smoke alarms should be replaced if they fail to operate or are older than 10 years from the manufacture date. For replacement, interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms are recommended.

We love talking about smoke alarms! Feel free to reach out with any questions you may have.

www.wireless-interconnected-photoelectric-smoke-alarms-australia.com

Smoke alarms are essential safety devices that detect the presence of smoke in the air and warn people of a potential fire. Photoelectric smoke alarms, in particular, are becoming increasingly popular due to their effectiveness in detecting smoldering fires and minimizing false alarms But have you ever wondered how a photoelectric smoke alarm is manufactured to to meet the highest standards of quality and safety? Manufacturers of a photoelectric smoke alarm need to ensure that their products are safe, reliable, and effective – this is where an ISO 9001 quality management system comes into play.

ISO 9001 is a globally recognized standard for quality management systems. It provides a framework for organizations to establish and maintain processes that ensure consistent product quality. ISO 9001 is an important indicator of a company’s commitment to quality and customer satisfaction – it covers all aspects of an organization’s operations, including design, development, production, delivery, and support. Do you know if your photoelectric smoke alarm has come from an ISO 9001 accredited facility?

The commercial production of a photoelectric smoke alarm involves sourcing high-quality materials, assembling the components, and then testing the finished product for quality and safety. ISO 9001 requires manufacturers to establish and document clear processes for sourcing these materials and assembling the product, as well as procedures for testing and inspecting the final product.

Testing is a crucial part of the manufacturing process for photoelectric smoke alarms. ISO 9001 requires manufacturers to establish rigorous testing procedures to ensure that every device meets the required safety standard (Australian Standard 3786:2014). This includes testing for sensitivity to smoke, false alarms due to humidity and temperature changes, and battery life.

ISO 9001 certification also requires manufacturers to continuously monitor and improve their processes to ensure consistent product quality. This involves regularly reviewing and analyzing data to identify areas for improvement, and implementing changes to optimize the manufacturing process.

Manufacturers must also have processes in place to ensure that the photoelectric smoke alarm is delivered to customers safely and effectively. This means that the smoke alarms are packaged correctly and that they arrive at their destination without damage. Manufacturers must also ensure that customers can install and use the photoelectric smoke alarm correctly.

One of the key benefits of ISO 9001 is the emphasis on customer focus. This means that manufacturers of a photoelectric smoke alarm must prioritize meeting the needs and expectations of their customers. ISO 9001 requires manufacturers to collect and analyze customer feedback to identify areas for improvement and to ensure that customer requirements are met. We provide a courtesy follow-up phone call post-purchase to help meet this objective.

In conclusion, manufacturing photoelectric smoke alarms is a complex process that requires precision, attention to detail, and a commitment to quality and safety. ISO 9001 accreditation plays a crucial role in ensuring that every step of the process is documented, monitored, and continuously improved to meet the highest standards of quality and safety. By choosing a photoelectric smoke alarm manufacturer that is ISO 9001 accredited, you can have confidence that the photoelectric smoke alarms in your home or building are of the highest quality and will provide reliable protection for years to come.

www.wireless-interconnected-photoelectric-smoke-alarms-australia.com