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Smoke Alarms

What is a Smoke Alarm?

Smoke alarms are life-saving devices that provide benefits for occupants. They detect smoke well before any sleeping occupant would, and provide critical seconds to implement actions to save life and property.

Smoke alarms are designed to detect fire smoke and emit a loud and distinctive sound to alert occupants of potential danger.You can obtain more information about the different types of smoke alarms available by visiting the website-

Your obligation as a Property Owner-
If you are selling or leasing your investment property, there are a few things that need to be present in your property. Whether the home is your own or is to be rented, it’s important to ensure the occupants inside are safe should a fire occur. Likewise if the property is to be sold, you will need to take appropriate steps to make sure the home complies with laws regarding smoke alarms. Between 2000 and June 2005 there were 144 deaths in NSW from house fires.

Smoke alarms – the law-
Smoke alarms, which at times are incorrectly called smoke detectors, were required to be installed in homes from 1 May 2006 and must comply with AS3786. Specifically, there needs to be a minimum of one for each level of the home and is necessary in any residential building someone may sleep. What was concerning was that in 2007 research into smoke alarms was conducted and found that 6% of homes in NSW did not have smoke alarms installed.

Any new buildings being built and any undergoing renovations are also required to have installed smoke alarms. This is according to The Building Legislation Amendment (Smoke Alarms) Act 2005 and the Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Smoke Alarms) Regulation.

Smoke alarms in real estate Sydney must be in working order and are not to be removed or interfered with. Failure to comply with the legislation is an offence and can result in a maximum penalty of $550.

Smoke alarms need to be installed in rental properties, owner occupied and relocatable homes. This includes terrace houses, townhouses, caretaker flats, detached houses, residences above shops and relocatable homes.

Shared accommodation is also required to have smoke alarms, such places like guest houses, backpacker accommodation, hostels and boarding houses. If the residential property in mind does not have smoke alarms, get them installed.

They are life saving and will identify smoke long before the sleeping occupants can. Having smoke alarms in a home will offer significant seconds of time in order to save lives and if possible, property. It is recommended you test all your smoke alarms once a month and be cleaned every six months with a vacuum cleaner. Batteries should be replaced according to the type of battery used.

If you have any questions regarding laws on smoke alarms, our Property Management department will be happy to answer any concerns you may have. Never try to avoid the law on smoke alarms as they could save your life or someone else’s. One third to a half of these deaths could have been prevented with the use of a working smoke alarm

What type of smoke alarm do I need?
The information on this page refers to the minimum requirements needed to meet the new Building Legislation Amendment (Smoke Alarms) Act 2005. The NSW Fire Brigades recommends a higher level of protection. For more information on the NSW Fire Brigades recommendations, refer to NSWFB policy on smoke alarms

You must install smoke alarms which comply with Australian Standard 3786 (AS3786). The standard should be clearly marked on the packaging.If you previously installed smoke alarms prior to 1 May 2006 that do not comply with AS3786 they will be deemed to comply (providing that they are working and in the correct location).

Smoke alarm types-
There are a number of different types of smoke alarms available: ionisation, photoelectric, carbon monoxide, alarms for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired, alarms with emergency lights and special models for kitchens and relocatable homes. All of these smoke alarms differ in how they detect smoke and/or alert people.

Power supply sources-
Smoke alarms can also have varying power sources. They can either be hard wired or battery operated.

Where should I install them?
For more information on the NSW Fire Brigades recommendations, refer to NSWFB policy on smoke alarms. Different types of premises require smoke alarms to be installed in various locations.

Avoiding 'false' alerts-
Smoke alarms are extremely sensitive and may detect smoke and moisture created by common household activities such as burnt toast or steam from a bathroom. To reduce the likelihood of false alarms, the smoke alarm should, wherever possible, not be located near cooking appliances or bathrooms.

Alternatively the type of alarms used needs to be considered. If false alarms persist, then the smoke alarm should be moved to a more suitable location.