Summary Bulletin: Fire Safety - Smoke Alarms 2nd ed
Authors: Joanne Quinn
Illustrators: Joanne Quinn and Michelle Svenger
Published: 31st October 2015
Audience: Consumers, Government/NGOs/Peaks, Industry, Librarians/Researchers/Students
Smoke alarms provide early warning of a fire in the home, potentially saving residents’ lives. It can take just minutes for a fire to reach flashpoint in a modern home. Residents that take longer or require assistance to respond in a fire, including older people, children, and people with disabilities, are at greatest risk. It is essential to have smoke alarms rapidly detect fire smoke, and awaken and alert residents, so they can escape safely.
Smoke alarm regulations have led to increased uptake of smoke alarms in Australian homes, but fire authorities and researchers recommend that more be done. Residents in new dwellings are safeguarded by regulations for hard-wired and interconnected smoke alarms. However, the majority of residents living in older dwellings have less regulatory protection; most states and territories require a minimum of just one battery-powered smoke alarm, and some have no requirement for smoke alarms. Even when smoke alarms are installed in dwellings, many are not operational due to lack of maintenance and disconnection to avoid nuisance alarms.
This second edition of Summary Bulletin: Fire Safety – Smoke Alarms responds to recent Australian regulatory changes for smoke alarms in dwellings, advances in smoke alarm devices, and current smoke alarm recommendations of fire authorities and researchers. It examines the function and use of contemporary smoke alarm devices and details the applicable national and state/territory regulations for different dwelling types. Recommendations are made for smoke alarm selection, placement and maintenance, to detect fire smoke whilst avoiding nuisance alarms; alert residents of all ages and abilities when fire smoke is detected; and ensure reliable smoke alarm functioning in a fire.
This publication is accompanied by Consumer Factsheet: Fire Safety - Smoke Alarms
1st edition: Home Smoke Alarms: Hard Wired and Battery-Powered Systems by Tanja von Behrens, July 2006
Contribution of Authors
This is the 2nd edition of Summary Bulletin: Fire Safety - Smoke Alarms. It replaces the original publication, titled Summary Bulletin: Home Smoke Alarms: Hard Wired and Battery-Powered Systems, authored by Tanja von Behrens (2006).
Joanne Quinn undertook the writing and research for the second edition. The changes to regulations, Standards, and products in the market, since the first edition in 2006 have resulted in all new content for this edition.
Table of Contents
Smoke Alarm Systems
Smoke alarm power types
Smoke and other fire detection methods
Supplementary alarm devices for people with hearing impairment
Regulatory Requirements for Smoke Alarms in the Home
Requirements for smoke alarms in new homes in the NCC
Requirements for smoke alarms in existing homes - state and territory legislation
Smoke alarm locations
The Need for Further Protection by Smoke Alarms
Improving the detection of smoke (without nuisance alarms)
Improving rapid alert of residents when smoke is detected
Ensuring reliable functioning of smoke alarms
Assistance with Smoke Alarms
Assistance with placement, installation, and maintenance of smoke alarms
Subsidies for supplementary smoke alarm devices for people with hearing impairment
Appendix 1: Standards Relevant to Home Smoke Alarms
Specialist Review Panel
|Professor Dorothy Bruck||Victoria University||Guest Expert Research Panel|
|John Templeman & Richard Waterfield||Home Modifications Australia [MOD.A]||Industry Panel|
|Dr Janice Herbert||National Seniors||Consumer Panel|
|Keith Shinn||Deafness Forum of Australia||Consumer Panel|
|A/Superintendent Michael Ollerenshaw||Fire & Rescue NSW||Guest Expert Panel|
|Senior Fire Fighter Melanie Rebane||Fire & Rescue NSW||Guest Expert Panel|
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