Smoke alarm secrets and the Australian Standard

All smoke alarms sold within Australia must comply to Australian Standard 3786:2014.

Section 4.22.1 of the Australian Standard describes the markings and types of information included on the smoke alarm itself. If the smoke alarm does not have all this information on it – then technically it is non-compliant to the standard.

Have a look at the photoelectric smoke alarm on your ceiling to double check if it has the following information.

4.22 Markings

4.22.1 Smoke alarm

Each smoke alarm shall be legibly and indelibly marked with the following:

(a) The number and date of this Standard (i.e. AS 3786:2014).

(b) The name or trademark and address of the manufacturer or supplier.

(c) The model designation (type or number).

(d) The type of smoke alarm (type A or type B), e.g. photoelectric or ionization.

(e) The alarm condition aural signal pattern (ISO 8201 or ISO 7731).

(f) The date of manufacture which may be coded into a serial number or the batch


(g) The recommended date for replacement, subject to normal, regular maintenance

NOTE: Provision may be made for a place to note the date for replacement of the smoke


For smoke alarms incorporating non-replaceable batteries (i.e. 10 year lithium long life batteries sealed inside the unit), the following warning is also required:


Additionally, a notice on the outer surface of the enclosure marked ‘DO NOT PAINT’ is required. The letters shall be not less than 3 mm high and plainly visible after the smoke alarm is installed in its intended manner. Be wary of many cheap ‘knock off’ smoke alarms sold in online marketplaces such as e-bay and Amazon – they do not have all this required information even though they profess to comply to the Australian Standard. Whilst it may seem trivial whether the smoke alarm has this information on it or not, in the event of a house fire and subsequent insurance claim, your insurer could be double checking this same information prior to making any potential pay-out.

Smoke alarm with required ‘DO NOT PAINT’ marking

Section 4.22.2 of the Australian Standard identifies the information and data which must be incorporated into the smoke alarm’s point of sale packaging (i.e. the box it comes in) and also within the user manual. As before, if the information below is not included then technically the smoke alarm is non-compliant to the standard.

4.22.2 Packaging

The point-of-sale packaging shall be marked with the following:

(a) The model designation (type or number).

(b) The type of smoke alarm (type A or type B) and an explanation of the meaning of the type designation (e.g. photoelectric or ionization).

(c) The nominal sound level output.

(d) The alarm condition aural signal pattern (ISO 8201 or ISO 7731).

(e) For smoke alarms using 520 Hz alarm condition signal frequency, the nominal frequency.

(f) For type B smoke alarms, permanently marked with the trefoil symbol, and name of

radionuclide and activity. The markings shall be visible from the outside of the packaging.

(g) The maximum number of interconnectable smoke alarms.

(h) Statement if the smoke alarm is suitable for wall (vertical) mounting.

In summary, section 4.22 of the Australian Standard describes the necessary information which must be included on the alarm, packaging and in the instruction manual. It is a requirement which manufacturers and retailers must adhere to.

QLD legislation states that smoke alarms must be photoelectric, interconnected and conform to Australian Standard 3786:2014. Failure to do so could have implications in the event of any insurance pay-out following a house fire.

Copyright for Australian Standard 3786:2014 remains with SAI Global.