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Why regular maintenance of smoke alarms is important
Smoke alarms had always been the watchful eye for our homes and establishments for every potential fire hazard ever since they were first invented. They make sure that we are safer than ever and are able to sleep soundly at night, without having to worry much about fire outbreaks getting quickly out of control.
But we should not be neglecting these innovative lifesavers as well. It is very easy to become too relaxed at times and we forget that these devices need to be taken care of as well from time to time.
And according to Queensland Fire Safety Regulations, smoke alarms require regular maintenance and inspections. This is to ensure the occupants’ continued safety from all fire hazards, making sure they’re fully-functional when they’re needed most – when fires start. A faulty smoke alarm could make a huge difference between life and death so as responsible landlords and homeowners, we should never compromise everyone else’s safety by neglecting our duty of upgrading to the latest smoke alarm systems and making sure they are regularly checked and scheduled for maintenance.
Here’s why your smoke alarms should be regularly inspected and scheduled for maintenance:
- Smoke alarms eventually become clogged with dust particles. This impairs and affects the efficiency of their sensors to pick up traces of smoke and heat if not addressed properly.
- Other working parts can become obstructed by the debris buildup as well, which can restrict the activation mechanisms. When this happens, even though the sensors are picking up heat and smoke, it may still fail to activate.
- Through regular maintenance and inspections, we can determine if your fire safety systems are still within operable age – Outdated fire alarm systems should be retired or condemned and replaced with newer ones.
- Regular inspections also enable us to determine if the smoke alarms have been intentionally compromised or tampered with – This is crucial for commercial buildings like apartments and offices.
Updated Smoke Alarm Guidelines from Queensland
Fire Emergency Services (QFES)
Starting from January 1, 2022 and onwards, the government requires landlords and homeowners to install interconnected smoke alarm systems for both residential and commercial properties, and should transition to full compliance by 2027.
For existing private homes and establishments, homeowners and landlords will be required to upgrade to photoelectric interconnected smoke alarm systems if they haven’t done so yet, which should either be hardwired (powered by the house’s electrical systems) or ones that use non-removable 10-year batteries as power source. The updated regulation also requires the interconnected smoke alarms to be installed in the following locations:
- Each storey of the house
- Each bedroom
- In every major hallway that connects the bedrooms to the rest of the house
- If there are no hallways, then areas between bedrooms
- If there are no bedrooms on a storey or floor, at least one smoke alarm should be installed in the most-traveled path
These updated smoke alarms should pass the following criteria as well:
- Should be photoelectric and comply with Australian Standard 3786-2014
- The smoke alarm bodies should contain the certified AS3786-2014 markings
- Does not contain an ionization sensor
- Should be less than 10 years old
- Must operate as tested
- Must be capable of being interconnected with every other smoke alarm in the entire house and must also all activate together as needed
- All previously hardwired-type smoke alarms must also be replaced by hardwired smoke alarms when upgraded. However, a given dwelling can use a combination of both hardwired and battery-operated smoke alarms
Landlords or lessors should also test the smoke alarm systems 30 days before the start of tenancy. These smoke alarms should also be cleaned and serviced by then. These smoke alarms should also be serviced and tested at least once every 12 months starting from the last time they were serviced.
Now that we know the importance of regular inspection and maintenance of smoke alarms, we should always keep in mind as well that only qualified personnel should service the smoke alarms for maintenance due to the very same reasons why only qualified personnel should check and service your fire extinguishers. We do not want our fire safety equipment and systems to be compromised by inexperienced people or worse, tampered with maliciously. Our company offers consultations and all of these services and you may reach us through our 24-hour hotline or our e-mail. We hope to be your trusted company for all of your fire solution needs.