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