Residential Smoke Alarms

LEGISLATIVE REQUIREMENTS 

Legislation requires all NSW residents must have at least one working smoke alarm installed on each level of their home. This includes owner occupied, rental properties, relocatable homes or any other residential building where people sleep. 

Smoke alarms are already mandatory for all new buildings and in some instances when buildings are being renovated. 

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.

WHAT TYPE OF RESIDENTIAL SMOKE ALARM DO I NEED?

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). 

The type of smoke alarm you require is dependent on the type of premises you live in or own. 

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. 

Find out more about smoke alarm types from Fire and Rescue NSW

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

Find out more about smoke alarm power sources from Fire and Rescue NSW

WHERE MUST I INSTALL MY RESIDENTIAL SMOKE ALARM?

Most battery-powered smoke alarms can be easily installed by the home owner or a maintenance contractor and do not require professional installation. Hard-wired smoke alarms, however, will need to be installed by a licensed professional. 

Always install a smoke alarm in accordance with their instructions. They are usually most effective when located on the ceiling, preferably away from walls and fittings. The best locations are in hallways leading from bedrooms and in sleeping areas. 

Since smoke alarms respond to airborne particles other than smoke, it is better not to install them in kitchens, bathrooms, laundries and garages. If possible, avoid areas with strong drafts. 

Note: If a garage etc is a separate level a smoke alarm must be installed at that level.