Tag: QLD smoke alarm

Interconnected Photoelectric Smoke Alarms are one of the most important safety features in any home. They can save lives by detecting smoke early, giving residents time to evacuate before a fire becomes uncontrollable. However, simply installing smoke alarms is not enough – many people fail to maintain their smoke alarms properly, and as a result, they may not function in a real life fire situation. Cleaning and testing your smoke alarm regularly can help ensure that it will work when you need it most, and also maximize the life expectancy of the alarm itself.

How To Clean Your Interconnected Smoke Alarms

Interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms are designed to detect smoke particles in the air. Over time, dust and other debris can accumulate on the sensors, which can interfere with their ability to detect smoke. Regular cleaning helps to ensure that the sensors are functioning properly and that the smoke alarm will work when you need it.

Cleaning your ZEN smoke alarm is a relatively simple process – please watch our short video below! You can use a soft brush or vacuum cleaner attachment to remove dust and debris from the sensors by gently vacuuming over and around the external perimeter of the smoke alarm, particularly near the air intake grill. You may be surprised by the dirt, dust and cobwebs that have accumulated over time. Do not apply any liquids or aerosol chemical cleaning agents onto your smoke alarm as this could damage it. We recommend to clean your smoke alarms every 6 months.

How To Test Your Interconnected Smoke Alarms

Testing your interconnected smoke alarm is an important part of maintaining it. It is recommended to test your ZEN smoke alarms monthly. It is a good idea to let people in the vicinity know you will be testing the alarms prior to doing so. To test your ZEN smoke alarms simply press the centre surface of the alarm (the test button). Alternatively you may press the test button once on the optional remote control device. After the test button is pressed all the interconnected smoke alarms should activate with 10 seconds of the first one – this is normal. All the alarms will make a beeping noise and flash their red light. After approximately 10 seconds all the alarms will silence automatically and the test is concluded.

It’s also a good idea to test your smoke alarm after any significant home renovations or changes, such as painting or installing new carpet. These changes can generate dust and debris that can interfere with the smoke alarm’s sensors. Pro tip – never paint over your smoke alarm if painting the ceiling.

Why Testing Your Interconnected Smoke Alarm Is Important

Testing your smoke alarm regularly is essential for ensuring that it’s working correctly. A smoke alarm that doesn’t work properly won’t be able to alert you to a fire in your home. In a worst-case scenario, this can have tragic consequences including loss of life and/or property.

Smoke alarms are especially critical during the night when you’re asleep. Many fires occur during the night, and if you’re not alerted to a fire early enough, you may not be able to evacuate in time. A properly functioning smoke alarm can give you the time you need to get out of your home safely.

Cleaning and testing your smoke alarm is a simple but essential task that can save lives. Regular basic maintenance of your interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms will ensure they remain working as intended, and will last their full 10-year lifespan without any complications. With a properly functioning smoke alarm that is regularly tested and maintained, you can sleep soundly knowing that you and your family are protected from the dangers of fire. Be sure to take good care of your smoke alarms – and they will take good care of you!

Want to know more? Watch our ZEN quick-start video or call us on 0478 596 402

We love talking smoke alarms!

ZEN Interconnected Smoke Alarms

As the Queensland festive season approaches, warmer temperatures, holiday decorations and the joy of gatherings fill the air. However, amidst the celebrations, we must also consider 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!

Careful Christmas Tree Positioning

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

Give the gift of safety and equip your home with ZEN interconnected smoke alarms inside every bedroom, hallway outside the bedrooms, and have at least one on every level of the dwelling. Press the test button on the alarms to check they are in good working order (i.e. so if one smoke alarm activates, then they all activate). Create a home 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.

Check Christmas Lighting And Decorations

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.

Ensure Christmas lighting decorations have the Australian regulatory compliance mark (RCM)

Power Board Common Sense

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.

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.

Cooking Attentiveness

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.

Christmas Conclusion!

By following these Christmas fire safety tips and ensuring you have ZEN 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. Putting fire safety at the top of your Christmas list will ensure the only thing sparking during your celebrations is the joy of the season.

Merry Christmas Queensland! Thank you again for all your fantastic support throughout the year, and we look forward to more incredibly busy and exciting times ahead!

Want to know more? Watch our ZEN quick-start video or call us on 0478 596 402

We love talking smoke alarms!

ZEN Interconnected Smoke Alarms

Smoke alarms are essential safety devices that detect the presence of smoke in the air and warn people of a potential fire. Interconnected 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 an interconnected photoelectric smoke alarm is manufactured to to meet the highest standards of quality and safety? Manufacturers of a interconnected 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.

What Is An ISO 9001 Quality Management System? (QMS)

ISO 9001 is a globally recognized standard for quality management systems. ISO stands for International Standards Organisation. 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. Has your interconnected smoke alarm has come from an ISO 9001 accredited facility? (ZEN smoke alarms do!).

The commercial production of interconnected smoke alarms 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 interconnected 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. The testing processes must be uniform and ongoing, to ensure consistency and reliability of the finished product.

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. In addition to periodic internal audits, our ZEN smoke alarm manufacturing facility is also audited annually by an external third party agency to ensure the required processes remain in place and continue to be effective.

Manufacturers must also have processes in place to ensure that the interconnected 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 interconnected smoke alarm correctly.

One of the key benefits of ISO 9001 is the emphasis on customer focus. This means that manufacturers of an interconnected 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.

ISO 9001 Interconnected Smoke Alarm Summary

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 an interconnected photoelectric smoke alarm manufacturer that is ISO 9001 accredited, you can have confidence that the interconnected smoke alarms in your home or building are of the highest quality and will provide reliable protection for years to come.

Want to know more? Watch our ZEN quick-start video or call us on 0478 596 402

We love talking smoke alarms!

ZEN Interconnected Smoke Alarms

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.

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’.

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 Activate

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. Immediately after the fire it remained 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.

Development in the Russell Island house fire – why didn’t the smoke alarms activate?

QLD Interconnected Smoke Alarm Laws

From 1st January 2022, all properties being sold or leased for rent in Queensland were required by QLD 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).

QLD Legal Smoke Alarm Requirements

Smoke alarms in a domestic QLD property must:

  • be photoelectric (AS 3786-2014); and
  • not also contain an ionisation sensor
  • be less than 10 years old from manufacture date
  • operate correctly when tested
  • be interconnected with every other smoke alarm in the dwelling so all activate together
  • be either hardwired or powered by a non-removeable 10-year battery

Where Must Interconnected Smoke Alarms Be Installed?

In QLD, interconnected smoke alarms must be installed on each storey:

  • inside every bedroom
  • in hallways which connect the bedrooms and the rest of the dwelling
  • if there is no bedroom on a storey, then at least one interconnected smoke alarm must be installed in the most likely travel path to exit the dwelling.

QLD Smoke Alarm Laws For Rental Properties

In addition to the above, rental property managers and landlords are required by QLD law (QLD Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990) 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. The tenant must also test and clean each smoke alarm in the dwelling at least once every 12 months. If the tenant is aware a smoke alarm in the dwelling has failed, the tenant must advise the lessor as soon as possible.

Postscript Update – April 2024

The landlord was charged and fined under the QLD Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990 after she admitted failing to install compliant photoelectric smoke alarms in the rental property.

The interstate landlord claimed to be unaware of the changes to QLD’s smoke alarm legislation.

“It’s absolutely no excuse that she failed to keep abreast of the laws required of an investment property owner in having the premises legally wired with smoke detectors after January 2022,” Magistrate Deborah Vasta said. Ms Vasta told the court that the landlord had failed to comply with safety legislation and a coronial inquest into the six deaths was still yet to occur.

“There’s no evidence about whether two smoke alarms that were there were working or not,” she said.

Detectives are continuing their investigation following the fire and a final report will be given to the coroner in the near future.

Want to know more? Watch our ZEN quick-start video or call us on 0478 596 402

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ZEN Interconnected Smoke Alarms

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.

QLD Lithium-Ion Battery Fires Increasing Significantly

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.

What Causes Lithium-Ion Battery Fires?

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.

Are The Lithium Batteries Dangerous In My Smoke Alarm?

This is a good question and one that needs to be asked. It would be ironic if smoke alarms designed to detect smoke and save lives were actually powered by lithium-ion batteries that are a major cause of house fires! Fortunately the same fire risk in lithium-ion batteries is not present in the 10-year lithium batteries sealed inside your smoke alarm. Why? The two small, 3V lithium batteries inside your smoke alarm are non-replaceable and non-rechargeable and are designed to deplete slowly and steadily over a 10-year lifespan. They do not undergo the repeated energy discharge / recharging process that much larger lithium-ion batteries do, and are not subjected to the same external forces of bumping, knocking and damage that scooters, e-bikes and other devices experience – this eliminates the associated fire and thermal runaway risk. Additionally, all smoke alarms sold in Australia should comply with Australian Standard 3786:2014 which incorporates stringent electrical testing of the smoke alarm itself, prior to sale.

Interconnected Smoke Alarm Battery Safety

It is essential that any interconnected 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.

ZEN smoke alarms and your symbols of battery safety compliance

Top Tips For Preventing Lithium-Ion Battery Fires

  1. Use Manufacturer-Approved Chargers:
    • Always use the charger and power adapter that comes with your device or is recommended by the manufacturer.
  2. Monitor Charging:
    • Charge batteries in a place where you can keep an eye on them and avoid charging overnight or when you’re not at home.
  3. Avoid Overcharging:
    • Unplug devices once they are fully charged to prevent overheating and reduce wear on the battery.
  4. Store Batteries Safely:
    • Keep batteries in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and flammable materials.
  5. Avoid Physical Damage:
    • Handle batteries with care to prevent drops, punctures, or any form of physical damage that could lead to internal short circuits.
  6. Check for Damage:
    • Regularly inspect batteries for signs of damage, swelling, or leakage. Stop using and properly dispose of any damaged batteries. This is particularly important for any transportation or mobility devices such as e-bikes or e-scooters.
  7. Keep Away from Extreme Temperatures:
    • Avoid exposing batteries to high or low temperatures, which can cause damage and increase the risk of fire.
  8. Don’t Mix Batteries:
    • Do not use old and new batteries, or batteries of different types and capacities, together in the same device.
  9. Proper Disposal:
    • Do not throw lithium-ion batteries in the regular wheelie bin to prevent potential fires. Ensure that you tape the terminals of used batteries with clear sticky tape before taking them to your local Council’s drop off point / recovery centre.
  10. Install Smoke Detectors:

Summary

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.

Want to know more? Watch our ZEN quick-start video or call us on 0478 596 402

We love talking smoke alarms!

ZEN Interconnected Smoke Alarms

Australians are renowned for their love of the great outdoors – from senior Grey Nomads to the younger #vanlife movement, Aussies are camping and caravanning in greater numbers than ever before. No doubt you’ve thoroughly researched your road trip, loaded up all the necessities, and packed the recreational gear, but have you checked how safe your caravan or campervan actually is?

Fire safety is crucial in a campervan as most usually have only one escape route in the event of a fire. As modern vans and motorhomes are made of lightweight and highly combustible materials you may have only a few seconds to escape a burning caravan. Fires can accelerate rapidly, therefore receiving a warning from a photoelectric smoke detector may mean the difference between life and death.

How Many Smoke Alarms Do I Need? Where Do I Put Them?


It is recommended that you have at least one working photoelectric smoke alarm inside the van where the bed is, and one also in the annex if you sleep there – the image below provides a handy visual guide. As per Australian Standard 3786:2014, the smoke alarm(s) should also have an integrated ‘hush’ button which allows it to be temporarily silenced, should the alarm be activated accidentally due to cooking smoke etc.

where to install smoke alarms in your campervan

Am I Required By Law To Install A Smoke Alarm

In My Campervan Or Caravan?

You should be aware that there is different smoke alarm legislation in every Australian state. In NSW, Victoria and the Northern Territory, regardless of where your campervan is registered, it must be fitted with a smoke alarm by law. If you are visiting South Australia and you are on-site for 60 days or longer then a smoke alarm is required by law. In July 2024 it became law in QLD that all QLD registered campervans and motorhomes must have at least one Australians Standard compliant photoelectric smoke alarm installed. In all other states fire authorities strongly recommended you install a smoke alarm, however it is not mandated by legislation. Some states also offer penalties for non-compliance. i.e. in QLD this is an offence with a maximum penalty up to $774. In NSW this may include on the spot fines of $200, and up to $550 if the matter goes to court. Note the definition of ‘campervan’ is quite broad and also includes the following; caravans, on-site vans, park vans, annexes (with rigid sides), mobile homes, and any other type of transportable structure where people sleep.

Recent news has further highlighted the lack of mandated alarms in Australian caravans, and fatalities due to caravan fires unfortunately occur annually. Don’t allow yourself to become a statistic – the short video below contains some great caravan fire safety advice from QLD Fire and Emergency Services (QFES).

Smoke alarms and caravan fire safety advice

Pro Tips! – Caravan Fire Safety

Keep Your Cylinders Outside The Caravan

Ensure that your cylinders in the caravan are safely maintained. Ensure that your gas cylinders are always placed outside the van and switched to the off position when not in use.

To avoid gas leaks and subsequent fire hazards, ensure that your empty cylinders are stored in an open space and locked with a strap or something similarly sturdy. Be sure to check all gas fittings and hose connections prior to each road trip as they may work free due to extended vibration when travelling.

Using Appliances

Ensure that you check the health of all your caravan appliances, particularly high-load equipment by having them certified periodically by an electrician. Do not overload power leads, and protect them from exposure to natural elements such as rain ingress.

Avoid Parking In Grassy Areas

When parking your caravan, avoid camp sites that have tall grass as these can easily catch fire. The same applies to parking spots with spinifex growth as the same is a fire hazard. Search instead for a cleared area.

Safe Cooking

Cooking while moving is prohibited as it is one of the major causes of fire. In addition, never leave the stove unattended when cooking inside the van. Setting up BBQ too close to the campervan itself might scatter embers or increase radiant heat levels, which could cause the awning fabric to catch fire. It is good practice to always maintain a minimum 5m distance from the caravan when cooking outside to prevent caravan fires and potential carbon monoxide poisoning.

Have Fire Extinguishers Handy

Second only to a smoke alarm, the next most important item to prevent fire from spreading is a dry chemical powder (DCP) fire extinguisher. Make sure your extinguisher is effective at all times by ensuring it remains fully charged and is within its use by shelf life. Fire extinguishers should be available at an accessible location, typically adjacent to the exit route of the van.

Fire Blankets

To contain a small campervan fire (i.e. on the stove top), a fire blanket may suffice. ZEN fire blankets are ideal as they are made of fire resistant material and can withstand temperatures of up to 500 degrees celcius. Place the fire blanket next to your exit door. As most fire blankets have no date of expiry, they are considered durable by full-time caravanners. Do not wait until a fire occurs before opening the fire blanket for the first time – practice beforehand so you are familiar with it, and learn the correct technique to place it over a small fire without burning yourself in the process.

Install a photoelectric smoke alarm in your campervan

Complete this fire safety checklist before embarking on your next road trip adventure

  • Does your campervan / caravan have a working photoelectric smoke alarm, fire extinguisher and a fire blanket located near the exit?
  • Do you have an escape plan pre-prepared in case of fire? Ensure escape routes remain unobstructed.
  • Check that LPG cylinders are secured correctly to the van and that all fittings and hoses are in good working order with no leaks.
  • Have all electrical appliances been test and tagged by a qualified electrician?
  • Ensure you turn off any pilot lights before towing or when the towing vehicle’s engine is running.
  • Download the free EmergencyPlus app to your mobile phone (available through Google Play or Apple’s App Store). The app uses GPS functionality built into smart phones to help a Triple Zero (000) caller provide critical location information.

Want to know more? Watch our ZEN quick-start video or call us on 0478 596 402

We love talking smoke alarms!

ZEN Interconnected Smoke Alarms