Why should you have a smoke alarm?
When people sleep, they lose their sense of smell. This means if a fire breaks out and you have no smoke alarm, you will not be woken up until it is too late. A smoke alarm is the electronic noice you need to save your life. Fires can spread and grow within two to three minutes! By having a smoke alarm, you are provided with the early warning you need to escape.
Smoke alarms protect your family, pets, property and you! Our loved one are the most important thing to us so if something was to happen that could have been prevented with the warning of a smoke alarm we would feel terrible. If you have no smoke alarm and a fire occurs:
- You are 57% more likely to suffer property loss and damage without a smoke alarm.
- You are 26% more likely to suffer serious injuries.
- You are 4 times more likely to die.
Smoke alarms MUST be installed in every house.
Smoke alarms are compulsory in every house hold.
Since 1 August 1997, Victorian law states that smoke alarms (complying with Australian standards AS 3786) must be installed in all homes, units, flats and townhouses. It is the legal responsibility of all owners and landlords to install working smoke alarms.
Residential homes constructed before 1st August 1997 need only 9 volt battery powered smoke alarms installed. Residential homes constructed after 1st August 1997 must have smoke alarms connected to 240 volt mains power. In addition a backup battery must be installed in the smoke alarm.
Smoke alarms MUST:
- Have a working battery installed.
- They must be tested yearly.
- Batteries have to be replaced yearly.
- The alarm must be completely replaced after 10 years.
Did you know?
Smoke alarms have expiry dates on them.
Locating a smoke alarm
- Smoke alarms must be located between each bedroom area and the rest of the house.
- In addition inside any bedroom where someone sleeps with the door shut
- In a two storey home a smoke alarm is required on every storey, located in the path that people will use to evacuate
Note: Cooking fires are common. High ceilings or the layout of your house may increase the time it takes for your smoke alarm to operate. Consider installing a photo-electric smoke alarm closer to the kitchen area.
Testing and Maintenance
Smoke alarms should be tested regularly
- Monthly: Test by pressing the test button with a broom handle
- Yearly: Vacuum around your smoke alarm vents
- Yearly: Replace your 9 volt battery each year at the end of daylight savings.
The MFB’s campaign at the end of daylight saving each year reminds people to:
“Change your clock; change your smoke alarm battery”
If the Residential Tenancy Act 1997 (RTA) applies to residential premises, the landlord is not only responsible for the installation of a smoke alarm but also its ongoing maintenance as per section 68(1) of the RTA Landlord’s duty to maintain premises:
“A landlord must ensure that the rented premises including fixtures and fittings provided by the landlord at the rented premises are maintained in good repair.”
It is the tenant’s responsibility to:
- Test the smoke alarm every month to make sure it is working
- Contact their agent/Landlord if the smoke alarm is not working
- Contact their agent/landlord if the smoke alarm omits an occasional chirping noise as the battery or smoke alarm is faulty
Smoke alarm subsidy for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
A specialised smoke alarm is available for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Due to the cost of this type of smoke alarm, the Department of Human Services provides assistance via a subsidy.
Family comes first.
Always remember, your family comes first, therefore you should keep up to date with the maintenance of all smoke alarms in your house.
Contact us today to ensure that your smoke alarms are maintained yearly!
For more information on Smoke Detectors please visit the MFB’s website.
Information received for this post was via MFB’s website.