According to a recent report Fire and Rescue NSW, 56% of fatal house fires took place in homes with no smoke alarm systems. It only takes around three minutes for fires to break out and a couple of quick breaths of thick smoke to knock someone out. Working smoke alarms work quickly to alert people to the outbreak of fire as soon as smoke is detected and reduce the risk of fatalities in residential fires by half.
It’s regulation for a working smoke alarm to be present on each level of a home.
The scary thing that a lot of people don’t realise is that smoke alarms have a 10-year life expectancy. If you haven’t replaced your smoke alarm in ten years, it’s time to get it checked out
Within ten years, smoke detector technology has come a very long way. The old ionisation technology has been replaced with the far superior hardwired photoelectric technology. These newer models never need a battery change as they contain a rechargeable battery. The technology works so that the smoke detectors see the fire rather than smell the smoke, making them much quicker at raising the alarm in the event of a fire. They detect the most common type of fire, smouldering fires, which ionisation smoke alarms neglect to do. With increasing open plan design homes, photoelectric alarms are the smoke alarm of choice, as they are less prone to false alarms from such things as cooking and burning toast.
Daylight Saving is the perfect time to check your smoke alarms are in good working order. If you don’t have one already, also consider changing your old battery operated smoke alarm to the newer, better model.
Here are some things to keep in mind about smoke alarm systems:
- Every level of any residential dwelling must have at least one smoke alarm installed
- The most common types of smoke alarms are photoelectric and ionisation smoke alarms. The BCA allows both types to be installed in residential buildings; however, in consideration of the relative performance of photoelectric and ionisation smoke alarms, the Fire Protection Association of Australia deems the latter type to be supplementary only. Photoelectric smoke alarms are to be fitted in all new residential buildings in NSW.
- Strobe light and vibrating pad smoke alarms are available for people with hearing problems. For more information contact the Deaf Society of NSW on 02 8833 3600 or visit: https://deafsocietynsw.org.au/equipment/page/smoke_alarms.
- For tenants, be reminded that while it is your landlord’s responsibility of installing smoke alarms in every level of your house, it is yours to have their batteries replaced for battery-operated ones, except during the commencement of your tenancy.
- You can find out how old the existing smoke alarms are in your house by checking the manufacturing date placed on the device, usually in the base of the smoke alarm near the battery compartment. This batch number placement on every smoke alarm device is per requirement of the Australian Standard 3786.
- You should maintain your smoke alarms regularly. It is recommended that they be tested by pressing the test button every month to make sure they are still working. They should also be cleaned with a vacuum cleaner as any dust or particle could prevent the smoke alarm to function properly.
- All smoke alarms in NSW must meet the requirements set by Australian Standards 3786.
Remember smoke alarms save lives.
If you live in the North Shore, Hornsby, or surrounds and would like to install or replace your old smoke alarms, give us a call on 9477 2550 and our friendly team will help you out.