Even in new buildings and houses, smoke alarms can sometimes fall short of quality, resulting in an ineffective fire safety system. As a homeowner or tenant, you should ensure that you have enough smoke detector coverage as well as compliant units installed in the correct locations.
This said, landlords or homeowners should make an effort to make sure that their current smoke alarm system is compliant with local smoke alarm legislation. For landlords, you would need to take an extra step by keeping tenants in the loop and informing them on maintaining and testing their smoke alarms. If you are uncertain how to check your system, take note of these two key factors.
Compliance requirements of smoke alarms may vary in different locations. Check with your local authority on compliance requirements. Whether you are installing a standard smoke alarm or wireless smoke detectors, always choose products that are compliant and certified according to local rules and regulations.
A good rule of thumb is to check whether your smoke alarms meet the required Australian Standard 3786:2014. If you have an older smoke alarm system, examine the labelling on the units to see if they comply with the national safety standard “ActivFire”. Also, make sure the unit is well within its 10-year product life.
If your smoke alarms are old, if you don’t have the necessary installation and servicing documents, or if you can’t see the labelling, it’s time to replace them. Ensure you have the relevant manufacturer’s user instructions and warranty information, which will give you info on annual smoke alarm servicing as required by your local smoke alarm regulations.
According to new legislation, requirements for smoke alarms now also dictate where to place the devices as well as how to install and test them. With this in mind, remember to keep up-to-date and accurate records of purchase, warranty, testing and service histories.
Type of Smoke Alarms
You would also need to know which type of smoke alarms are installed. Most buildings or residential properties utilise lithium-ion or battery-powered smoke alarms as they are convenient and economical. In terms of installing lithium-ion or battery-powered smoke alarms, the landlord must ensure that they are placed in compliance with your region’s legislation. In addition, most battery-powered smoke alarms on the market only last up to ten years. Therefore, you must remember to replace them when they are at the end of their shelf lives.
For hard-wired smoke alarms, the devices are connected directly to the property’s main power supply, which requires the services of a professional electrician. Get an electrician to service and inspect for broken wiring and keep a record of any new installations and servicing. This is very important, especially if you recently purchased the property and intend to rent it out. Take note that installations and replacements of these smoke alarms can only be done by a certified electrician.
As for ionisation smoke detectors, ionised particles are used to detect the presence of smoke. They have a small amount of radioactive material sandwiched between two electrically charged plates. The reaction between these components causes the ionisation of air. As a result, a current flows between the two plates, activating the alarm.
Another type is the photoelectric smoke detector. These detectors use a light source and a light sensor to detect smoke. Some states have amended their regulations to ensure that landlords only use photoelectric interconnected smoke alarms in order to be up to date with compliance.
It’s crucial to learn more about smoke alarms, the different types and whether they are compatible with local legislation. As strict as they are, these rules and regulations are in place to ensure improved fire safety in homes and buildings. If you are unsure how to check for compliance, you can consider purchasing your devices from reliable fire alarm suppliers who are familiar with fire safety laws. These companies will be able to guide you through the process of getting a suitable unit. Also, when shopping for a smoke alarm, always ask if their products meet the latest guidelines.