Stronger laws aim to keep Queenslanders safe from fire

Time to check your home smoke alarms.

Queenslanders are encouraged to make their homes compliant with new smoke alarm legislation.

The legislation, which aims to make homes in Queensland the safest in Australia, has been applied to new and substantially renovated dwellings since 1 January 2017.

It was introduced as a result of recommendations from a coronial inquest into the tragic deaths of 11 people in the 2011 Slacks Creek fire. 

A Queensland Fire and Emergency Services spokesperson said the legislation required the installation of interconnected, photoelectric smoke alarms because “they are the most effective at providing a fire alert in homes”.

This will apply to all dwellings from 1 January 2027, however any smoke alarms installed in new or substantially renovated dwellings must meet the legislation requirements now.

The new legislation means all Queensland dwellings will be required to have interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms in all bedrooms and hallways that connect bedrooms with the rest of the home, on every level.

“All Queenslanders need to be aware of this legislation to ensure they install compliant interconnected, photoelectric smoke alarms by the required dates,” the QFES spokesperson said.

“The legislation also stipulates the type, positioning and power supply of smoke alarms.” 

The spokesperson said it was also important for smoke alarms to be regularly maintained.

“During a fire, early warning is critical to allow sleeping occupants time to safely evacuate,” the QFES spokesperson said.

“Smoke alarms provide early warning, however, to be effective they must be maintained through regular testing and cleaning.

“Cleaning helps to remove built-up dust or other matter that may affect the alarm’s performance.

“Testing of smoke alarms can be carried out by using the ‘test’ button and cleaning should be done in line with manufacturer instructions.”

Key points:

  •  The smoke alarm law applies to domestic properties such as houses, townhouses units and apartments. 
  • All homes should be fitted with photoelectric, interconnected smoke alarms in all bedrooms and hallways and on each storey of the home. 
  • Houses and units approved to be built or substantially renovated after 1 January 2017 need to comply with the legislation now. 
  • All houses or units being sold or leased, or existing leases renewed, need to comply before the next lease that commences from 1 January 2022. 
  • All other dwellings need to comply from 1 January 2027. 
  • In addition, if you are replacing a smoke alarm you must replace it with a photoelectric-type alarm. Click here for more information. 

Source: QFES