Self-contained smoke alarms are required to be installed in every dwelling (class 1, 2, 3 & class 4) under regulation 145 of the Building Regulations 2018. They need to be installed in appropriate locations on or near the ceiling of every storey of the dwelling in accordance with AS3786 – 1993.
Most deaths and property loss related to fires occur in the home or unit, and of these most occur at night while people sleep. Toxic gas and smoke from fires are the killers, it can numb your senses, cause suffocation, and you can become completely disoriented.
A smoke detector is a safety device, which would give you the warning and the time to vacate the building in the event of a fire.
Before the introduction of smoke alarms to residential type buildings, Melbourne Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) statistics indicated that in Melbourne there were 133 related deaths in residential buildings between 1983-1989.
Smoke alarms have saved many lives, but some residents continue to put themselves at risk and pay the highest price when working smoke alarms are either not installed or not maintained.
All existing domestic type buildings that were constructed before 8 April 1991, were required to be fitted with approved battery operated smoke alarms, by 1 February 1999.
The appropriate location of the smoke alarm is on or near the ceiling outside bedrooms or within each bedroom and on each floor or storey. It is also advisable to install smoke alarms in living areas.
Like most safety appliances smoke alarms need checking regularly. The alarms are fitted with a test button, which briefly sets the alarm off when pressed. Regular maintenance is important, such as cleaning the unit for dust and possible intrusion of insects. A vacuum cleaner will do the job. The batteries will also have to be replaced from time to time. Each year t there is a reminder campaign by the fire serves to “Change your clocks – Change your smoke alarm battery”.