The majority of house fires are preventable
Most fires in Australia are caused by electrical faults, heaters, open fires, lamps and smoking material and mostly occurred between the sleeping times of 8pm-8am. In most of the homes where deaths occurred smoke alarms were not fitted or were not working. A national study from the Australisian Fire Authorities Council (Source) has shown that the absence of smoke alarms can increase the possibility of a fatality in a fire by 60%.
In South Australia all homes need to be equipped with the correct number of smoke alarms. As a homeowner or landlord you are responsible for functional alarms in your property. If it is found that you do not have functioning alarms there could be a fine up to $750.
What type of smoke alarm is right for me?
There are two different types of smoke alarms you can choose between:
Photoelectric smoke alarms, which are optical and “see” the smoke or Ionisation smoke alarms, which “feel” the smoke. Photoelectric smoke alarms respond to smouldering fires and smoke given off by foam filled furnishings or overheated PVC wiring.
Ionisation smoke alarms detect smoke from things like burning toast.
It is always recommended that you should choose the Photoelectric smoke alarm as they have much better technology than the Ionisation smoke alarms.
Hardwired or Battery Operated?
Hard wired smoke alarms are wired into the electrics of your home or office. They have a 10 year lifespan and require you to change the battery in them annually. The date of the unit install is always shown in the lid that opens up to access the battery. If your unit is more than 10 years old it does need to be replaced by a qualified electrician. Hard wired smoke alarms act more quickly than a battery operated, so we always recommend hardwired where possible.
Battery operated smoke alarms require the battery to be changed annually. These do not require an electrician to fit them.
In most cases, both of these alarms require a 9V battery that need to be replaced annually – battery changes are simple and don’t require a licenced electrician. A good way to remember to change them is to do it at the beginning of Autumn each year!
If you need advice, either as a landlord or tenant, we are happy to help you with the correct number and the best type of alarms for your home, as the requirements depend on different aspects, such as the age of your home or when you purchased your property. Call us now for a free consultation – 1800 350 350
And don’t forget about your Recreational Vehicle (RV) – if your RV is on-site for 60 days or longer and occupied a smoke alarm is required by law!