The One Device You Can’t Live Without
Considering that you are four times as likely to die in a house fire if you are without a fire alarm, you would think that this inexpensive piece of equipment would be installed in every home in Australia.
However, surveys surrounding fire alarm usage in Victoria suggest that only around half of rental properties are equipped with more than one. The same amount of people don’t replace their alarms each year, as recommended, and about 40% don’t change the batteries frequently enough.
While each state in Australia has varying policies around the use of fire alarms, the requirements are becoming more standardized and more is being expected of homeowners. New regulations in Queensland, as of 2017, stipulate that all new and newly renovated homes must include smoke alarms in each and every level of the house, in hallways where bedrooms are connected and all bedrooms.
A licensed electrician must be responsible for installing each device to ensure that they are in working order, and are also tasked with replacing and testing them. All new alarms must also be interconnected photoelectric alarms, which uses light beam technology to detect the presence of smoke. These smoke alarms are proven to be more responsive to the early stages of a fire and are also capable of detecting smoldering fires, which may fill a house with gas before flames eve appear.
Beyond the obvious safety risks involved with not having the proper fire alarms installed, there are also hefty penalties given to houses which don’t comply. The local government can issue fines ranging from $1000 to $5000 depending on the state you are in and the level of non-compliance.’
Understanding the importance of installing and using fire alarms in your home, the next step towards fire safety involves the frequent testing and maintenance of your alarms. It is recommended that you check your batteries monthly, replace them when necessary and leave them in the alarm unit, clean all alarms regularly and replace any removable batteries once a year. If you have made the switch to interconnected hard-wired fire alarms, you will require the services of an electrician to both install and test your safety equipment regularly.