Smoke Alarms - New Laws and Correct Maintenance
In an effort to protect lives, new laws regarding smoke alarms were passed in Queensland, taking effect on January 1st 2017. These laws, while seemingly common sense, were put into place in an effort to prevent another devastating tragedy like the 2011 Slacks Creek house fire which claimed 11 lives. Victorian law mandates that all homes built after August 1st 1997 must have their smoke alarms hard wired to the mains with a backup battery installed.
Keeping people safe is a priority at Twin Electrics & Plumbing, which is why we are going to give you an overview of the new laws and explain how to properly maintain your smoke alarms. This information could just help save lives.
A Closer Look at the New Laws
The new Queensland legislation calls for all homes and multi-family residences to have photoelectric, interconnected smoke alarms. The smoke alarms must be present outside every bedroom, the hallways, and any area that is used to connect bedrooms.
People don't need to replace their old smoke alarms immediately, but they will in the future. This law requires all new buildings and newly built homes to have this type of smoke alarm system. Any homes that are having significant renovations performed will also need to install these new smoke alarms.
Smoke Alarm Maintenance
Just having a smoke alarm installed isn't going to be enough to save your life. That smoke alarm needs to be working. Properly maintaining the smoke alarms in your home can help make sure that if – and when – the time comes for them to alert you to a fire, they are in working order. CFA research showed an alarming 45% of structure fires did not have a working smoke alarm installed.
It doesn't take a lot to maintain your smoke alarms. The following are some easy maintenance tips that will help keep your smoke alarms in proper working order:
- Regularly clean dirt and dust from the outside of the smoke alarm
- Vacuum the interior compartments of the smoke alarm to remove any dirt and dust that has accumulated
- Regularly change the batteries every 6 months
- Replace smoke alarms approximately every 10 years
- Perform monthly tests of the smoke alarms to determine that they still work. Faulty alarms should be replaced immediately
Don't Disable a Smoke Alarm
It might be tempting to disable a smoke alarm when it keeps going off and there is no smoke or fire present. However, this is a bad idea, as it puts your safety at risk. The consequences of not having a working smoke alarm installed can be disastrous, as fire department statistics show you are 57% more likely to suffer property damage, 26% more likely to suffer serious injury, and four times more likely to die.
If a smoke alarm keeps giving false alerts, try to investigate the problem. Sometimes a faulty wire may be causing the alarm to go off. In the event that you cannot find the source of the problem, it is best to replace the smoke alarm.
Twin Electrics & Plumbing, which offers residential and commercial plumbing and electrical services in Melbourne, can help when it comes to smoke alarms. A trained and experienced electrician from Twin Electrics & Plumbing can do everything from maintain existing smoke alarms to installing new smoke alarms in a home or office building. Call us today to learn more about how our residential and commercial electrical and plumbing services can help you.