We all know the importance of having working smoke alarms in our homes and the disastrous consequences that can occur if we don’t. Queensland legislation states that any replacement smoke alarm must be a photoelectric model on an interconnected system. You are required to replace your smoke alarms if…

  • They are more than ten years old
  • They do not operate correctly when tested
  • Your home was built/ had substantial renovations after 1st January 2017

Photoelectric smoke alarms are designed to ‘see’ the smoke by detecting physical particles of combustion. This allows the alarm to respond quicker to a wider range of fires including dense smoke and smouldering fire. Interconnected smoke alarms work as an interlinked system so if one alarm sounds an alert, the rest of the alarms on the system will do the same.

As of January 2017, Queensland legislation requires all dwellings to have interconnected, photoelectric smoke alarms in bedrooms and hallways that connect bedrooms. A ten-year rollout of the legislation has been broken down into the following stages…

  • 1st January 2017 – in all new dwellings and substantially renovated dwellings
  • 1st January 2020 – in all domestic dwellings leased and sold
  • 1st January 2027 – in all other domestic dwellings

More specifically, these smoke alarms must be located…

  • On each storey
  • In each bedroom
  • In hallways that connect bedrooms and the rest of the dwelling (or the section between bedrooms)

If there are no bedrooms on a storey, at least one smoke alarm must be installed in the most likely path of travel to exit the dwelling.

Those with investment properties also fall under this legislation and are required to test and clean each smoke alarm 30 days prior to each tenancy change or renewal. Every smoke alarm and battery must be replaced before the expiry date and is not the responsibility of the tenants, but instead the landlord or agent.

Photoelectric smoke alarms are faster-acting, more reliable and have been proven to be more effective in the domestic home. Interconnected smoke alarms are safer as they ensure that every room will be alerted as oppose to a single alarm that may not be heard by the rest of the home.

In the event of a fire, you have as little as 15 seconds to enact your fire escape plan, so delays in detection can mean the difference between life and death. The phase out of older smoke alarms is based on recommendations from the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, backed by evidence that early smoke detection saves lives. If you haven’t already, it is recommended that you get your home converted to the new legislative requirements as soon as possible.

**Please note that this is a summary of information only and we suggest reviewing the QFRS website for more information.