Smoke Alarms: Why they MUST be installed and working in your home

We all know the role of a smoke alarm in our home; to ensure the safety of ourselves and our family in the event of a fire. While this may be common sense to most, did you know that there is legislation in place for both NSW and ACT, that requires all buildings where people sleep to have a correctly installed and functioning smoke alarm?

This legislation provides a minimal level of protection from fire, where further precautions should be taken around the home to reduce the risk of fire, such as cleaning your gutters that we have discussed in the previous article.

Something so simple can assist in the reduction of significant damage to your family and home, and may also assist in highlighting other factors that can make your home a more safe environment. Here’s some further information about smoke alarms, different types, and how they work.

What are the types of smoke alarms?

  • Photoelectric and Ionisation 
  • Hard wired and Battery powered 
  • Models for kitchen use, caravans, and special needs such as hearing impaired 
  • Some models that come with an emergency light

Photoelectric or Ionisation?

Photoelectric alarms are more advanced and are widely regarded as being superior to ionisation alarms, as they can respond faster than other alarms, and are less likely to cause annoying false alarms. They are particularly effective at detecting smouldering fires, which provides the earliest possible warning of a small developing fire. If a smoke alarm has a radioactive warning symbol on it, it is an ionisation smoke alarm.

Fire & Rescue NSW strongly recommend that you install a photoelectric type smoke alarm that is hard wired and interconnected – if one alarm sounds, they all sound throughout the house. These alarms are superior in most circumstances and may provide a faster warning.

How many should I have in my home?

Legislation requires at least one working smoke alarm on each level of their home, but it is recommended that one is installed in each room where someone sleeps, along with the hallways that lead to sleeping areas. The legislation includes owner occupied, rental properties, relocatable homes, caravans and camper vans, or any other residential building where people sleep.

Hard-wired or battery operated?

Where possible, hard-wired and interconnected smoke alarms should be installed. If they cannot be hardwired, photoelectric alarms that rely on 10-year lithium batteries should be installed, as the batteries will last as long as the smoke alarm – no need to replace a lead/alkaline battery every 12 months, simply replace the entire smoke alarm every 10 years.

The Doctor is here to help!

If you need any assistance in the installation of smoke alarms, give us a call and we can arrange one of our electricians to come to your home or property and make sure it is protected in the event of a fire.

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