AS1851:2012 - Smoke Detector Sensitivity Testing

A smoke detector is a sensitive device designed to detect a fire from the by-products of combustion. You can read more about the operation of fire detection and alarm systems and smoke detectors in our popular series of articles titled "Principles of Fire Safety".

Earlier today I received an email from CW (alias) who asked the question "what are the requirements for testing the sensitivity of collective smoke detectors in accordance with Australian Standard AS1851:2012?"

Can steam operate a smoke detector?

I received an email (below) from a customer (MB) who had experienced an alarm, likely caused by steam from a shower in a washroom.

From: MB
Sent: Wednesday, 17 April 2013
Subject: Smoke detector

Hi Russ,

We had a fire alarm last week in toilet/wet area due to pressure hosing. Evidently it was a smoke detector set off due to water mist.

Could you please provide feedback whether thermal detectors suffer potential false activations from minor water spray or if this is really only likely from smoke detectors?

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