Smoke Alarms (Share Your Home With A Life Saver)
You are probably aware that from 1 May 2006, it is mandatory for existing homes (including single dwellings, townhouses, villas, flats and shared accommodation) to have smoke alarms installed. This mandate comes from Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 as amended. It also provides that a grace period of up to 1 November 2006 is allowed before any penalties will be imposed on the owners who have failed to install the smoke alarms. Each owner is therefore requested to install the smoke alarms in their homes immediately as required by the legislation.
In case of strata-titled properties, the Owners Corporation should take a leading role in overseeing that smoke alarms are being installed. The unit owner, who has installed their smoke alarms, should inform the Owners Corporation on completion.
For more information click on the following links:
What type of smoke alarms should be used?
All smoke alarms must comply with Australian Standard AS3786-1993. In simple terms, you have a choice of the following types:
Non-expensive battery-only smoke alarms (ionisation or photoelectric types) You can buy them from hardware stores and install them yourselves. If you are an aged pensioner or a person with disability, you may contact Hills Community Care on +61 2 9761 7611 to see if you are eligible for Hills Community Care to install them for you.
Hardwired 240 Volts smoke alarms with battery backup (ionisation or photoelectric types) You need a licensed electrician to install them. Hardwired smoke alarms are capable of being interlinked together so that the interlinked ones can be sounded together.
Where should you install the smoke alarms?
Smoke alarms must be installed on each level of a home or unit even though some levels do not have bedrooms in it. The best locations are to install them near the stair to detect any smoke as early as possible before it affects your exit route.
On the levels with bedrooms in particular, assuming that all your bedrooms are clustered around a hallway or corridor, one smoke alarm installed on the ceiling (preferably in the middle of the ceiling) of the hallway immediately outside the bedrooms may be sufficient. However, if your bedrooms are far apart, you may need more than one smoke alarm to cover the separated hallways.
Refer to the installation manual on physical limitations of positioning the smoke alarm near a corner or the ridge of a sloping ceiling, or installing it vertically on a wall.
Should you install smoke alarm in every bedroom?
Except in the case of shared accommodation, it is advisable but not mandatory to have a smoke alarm in every bedroom because fire does not always start outside the bedrooms. If a fire starts in a bedroom with the door closed, it will take much longer for the smoke to activate the smoke alarm outside the bedroom before anyone will be alerted to escape. The earlier the warning you can receive in the event of fire, the more time you may have to intervene or escape from the fire before being overcome by smoke.
However, in the case of shared accommodation e.g. bed and breakfast, group homes, hostels, etc, it is mandatory to have a smoke alarm in every bedroom. You are advised to check with the Fire Safety Coordinator on +61 2 9843 0344 for other fire safety requirements.
Where can you get further information?
You may contact The Hills Shire Council on +61 2 9843 0555 or the NSW Fire Brigades on 1300 858 812 for technical advice. For tenanted properties, you may also contact the Department of Fair Trading on 13 32 20.
Back to top