Not nearly enough tenants and property owners remember to test their smoke alarms regularly. If your home’s smoke alarms are faulty, you are 26% more likely be seriously injured in a house fire, 57% more likely to experience severe property damage and losses and four time more likely to die in the event of a fire breaking out. As a result, it’s crucial that you test all of your fire alarms when adjusting for daylight savings.
Smoke Alarm Laws and Legislation in Victoria
Smoke alarms have been deemed compulsory to have installed in every home in the state. As of 1 August 1997, the law in Victoria states that all smoke alarms must not only comply with Australian Standards AS 3786; it is the legal responsibility for all landlords and property owners to install these units in every single house, unit, townhouse, flat and apartment unit. Properties where numerous rooms are available for rent and where four or more people are occupying rooms must have hard-wired smoke detectors installed.
Any residential property built before 1 August 1997 is only required to have 9 volt battery-powered smoke alarms. However, homes constructed after this date are required to have smoke alarms that are connected to 240 volt mains power. Backup batteries must also be installed in these units. All fire departments in Australia strongly recommend that photo-electric smoke alarms be installed, and all smoke alarms must be maintained according to the manufacturer’s specifications and instructions. Smoke alarms must also be replaced every 10 years.
Testing your Smoke Alarms
Although it is recommended that these units be tested once a year, it is actually a good idea to test them once a month as well. This can be done by pressing a broom handle against the test button to ensure that the unit activates. It is also strongly recommended that you vacuum around all of the smoke alarm vents at least once a year, as this will prevent false triggers, while also ensuring the units can accurately detect smoke in the event of a fire occurring. When testing your alarm at daylight savings, the 9 volt battery in each of them should also be replaced.
If it’s time to replace the batteries in your current smoke alarms, it may be a good idea to replace the units with a photoelectric alternative. These units come with a pre-installed lithium battery that will last for 10 years. This means that you will not have to remember to replace batteries every year – and you will be able to enjoy a cost-saving on batteries in the process as well.
Tenants are required to test smoke alarms regularly and inform landlords immediately if the units aren’t working. They should also not tamper with the units or disable them at any time, and upon vacating a property, tenants must ensure the units are left in good working order. Specialised smoke alarms are available for people who are hard of hearing or deaf, and a subsidy for these units can be obtained through the Department of Human Services.