In an effort to protect residents from this risk, the NSW Government introduced the Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Smoke Alarms) Regulation 2006. As a result from May 1, 2006 all buildings in New South Wales (NSW) where people sleep must be fitted with at least one working smoke alarm. Until now, smoke alarms were generally only required in new and renovated homes.
The NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment (Smoke Alarms) regulation 2006, requires alarms complying with Australian Standard AS3786 to be located near sleeping areas and paths of escape.
The regulation applies to private homes and residences including apartments, and shared accommodation such as boarding houses and nursing homes, rental properties and temporary accommodation.
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.
Fitting smoke alarms in the right locations could save your family's life.
Smoke alarms have been mandatory in all dwellings in Victoria and South Australia since 1999, with 96% and 85-90% of dwellings respectively in those two states now having smoke alarms. In other states, smoke alarms have been mandatory only in new dwellings since 1995, under provisions of the Building Code of Australia. Evidence from the USA, where smoke alarms have been in wide use for 20 years, shows a reduction in house fire deaths of more than 50% in those homes where working smoke alarms are installed.
Purchasing a Smoke Alarm
Smoke alarms come in a range of styles and prices and battery-operated alarms can be purchased for as little as $10.00. A good quality smoke alarm can be purchased from most hardware, home equipment and building supply stores. In selecting your smoke alarm ensure that it meets Australian Standard AS3786 and displays at least one of the following markings;
- Approved to AS3786
- Accredited to AS3786, or
- SSL (Scientific Services Laboratory) listed. Scientific Services Laboratory (SSL) which is a part of the Australian Government Analytical Laboratories.
Most battery-powered smoke alarms can be easily installed by the home owner and do not require professional installation. However hard-wired smoke alarms will need to be installed by a licensed professional.