Smoke Alarm Legislation

Smoke alarms save lives. Reports have found that the risk of death in a house fire is reduced by more than half if properly maintained smoke alarms are installed.

The Fire and Emergency Services (Domestic Smoke Alarms) Amendment Act 2016 (Qld) commenced on 1 January 2017 and imposes additional obligations on property owners/managers and tenants with regards to the installation and general maintenance of smoke alarms at domestic dwellings.

If you have questions concerning the new smoke alarm legislation, email SmokeAlarms@qfes.qld.gov.au.

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VIDEO: Smoke alarm laws – what you need to know in Queensland – RTA QLD

Tenants

source: Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA)

Tenants must:

  • test and clean (by vacuuming or dusting) smoke alarms at least once every 12 months. QFES recommends smoke alarms are tested once a month.
  • replace any flat or nearly flat batteries
  • advise the property owner/manager if there is any issue with the alarm (apart from batteries)
  • allow the property owner/manager right of entry to install smoke alarms
  • not remove a smoke alarm or the battery (other than to replace it), or do anything to reduce the effectiveness of the alarm e.g. paint or cover it

You do not need to be qualified or licensed to clean or test a domestic smoke alarm. Some real estate agents may outsource smoke alarm maintenance to another company as part of their processes. Tenancy rules permit entry for the purposes of complying with smoke alarm legislation

Landlords

source: Queensland Fire and Emergency Services

From 1 January 2017

  • Existing smoke alarms manufactured more than 10 years ago must be replaced with photoelectric smoke alarms which comply with Australian Standards (AS) 3786-2014. (Note: the date should be stamped on the back)
  • Smoke alarms that do not operate when tested must be replaced immediately.
  • Existing hardwired smoke alarms that need replacement, must be replaced with a hardwired photoelectric smoke alarm.
  • It is also recommended that:
    • smoke alarms be either hardwired or
    • powered by a non-removable 10-year battery; and
    • ionisation smoke alarms be replaced with photoelectric type as soon as possible.
    • For the best protection smoke alarms should be installed on each storey:
      • in every bedroom
      • in hallways which connect bedrooms and the rest of the dwelling
      • if there is no hallway, between the bedrooms and other parts of the storey; and
    • If there are no bedrooms on a storey, at least one smoke alarm should be installed in the most likely path of travel to exit the dwelling.
    • All smoke alarms should be interconnected.

From 1 January 2022

  • All homes or units being sold or leased, or existing leases renewed, will require the installation of hardwired photoelectric, interconnected smoke alarms. If a hardwired smoke alarm cannot be installed, non-removable 10-year battery smoke alarms can be installed in place.
  • Smoke alarms in the dwelling must:
    • be photoelectric (AS3786-2014); and
    • not also contain an ionisation sensor; and
    • Be hardwired to the mains power supply with a backup power source (i.e. battery), although dwellings which were existing prior to 1 Jan 2017 can be hardwired or powered by a non-removable 10-year battery, or a combination of both.
    • be interconnected with every other smoke alarm in the dwelling so all activate together.
  • The legislation requires smoke alarms must be installed in the following locations:
    • on each storey
    • in each bedroom
    • in hallways that connect bedrooms and the rest of the dwelling
    • if there is no hallway, between the bedroom and other parts of the storey; and
    • if there are no bedrooms on a storey, at least one smoke alarm must be installed in the most likely path of travel to exit the dwelling.
  • If a smoke alarm which is hardwired to the domestic power supply needs replacement, it must be replaced with a hardwired photoelectric smoke alarm.

What is required by Law?

When it is time for your property’s alarms to be upgraded, those alarms must:

  • be photoelectric and comply with Australian Standard 3786-2014
  • not also contain an ionisation sensor; and
  • be less than 10 years old; and
  • operate when tested; and
  • be interconnected with every other ‘required’ smoke alarm in the dwelling so all activate together.

Any existing smoke alarm being replaced from 1 January 2017 must be a photoelectric-type alarm which complies with Australian Standard 3786-2014.

If a smoke alarm which is hardwired to the domestic power supply needs replacement, it must be replaced with a hardwired photoelectric smoke alarm.

In existing domestic dwellings, it is possible to have a combination of smoke alarms (240v and battery operated) and inter-connectivity can be both wired and wireless.

The information provided on this page is from Queensland Fire and Emergency Services website and is used for educational/information purposes only.
For more information, please visit https://www.qfes.qld.gov.au

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