Smoke Detectors in Australia and Laws Regarding Them

Smoke alarms provide vital and early warning of fire, providing invaluable time to detect a fire and extinguish it before it engulfs the entire property and reduces it to ashes. They also reveal that almost 50 percent of domestic fires originate in the kitchen and 43 percent of fire fatalities occur in winter. Being prepared plays a vital role in the early detection of fire and preventing it from spreading.

Smoke Detectors
Smoke Detectors are proven lifesavers in household fires

Common Types of Fire


The kitchen is the primary source of numerous fire hazards because the kitchen is the place where grease, electricity, and heat come together. Grease fire is very dangerous as it gets out of control quickly and spreads from the kitchen to the other rooms of the apartment. Such fires take place when someone leaves a frying pan containing grease on the stove unattended.

Heater fires

Coil space heaters kept close to anything combustible such as carpets, bedding, and curtains can cause fires by igniting these things. Extension cords are dangerous too, because their cables do not have the capacity to support the power load required by coil heaters and most people run their cables under carpets.


Embers from unextinguished cigarette butts can cause fire if the smoker drops them unintentionally on bedding and carpets.

Electrical fires

Such fires take place due to faulty wiring, frayed power cords, and connecting and using heavy duty electrical gadgets on a low amperage power outlet.

What are smoke detectors?

Smoke alarms are electronic gadgets that detect smoke and emit a shrill noise that alerts people about an impending fire. This allows individuals to reach the scene of the fire and extinguish it before it spreads out of control. Let us understand what they are and how they function. There are two types of smoke detectors… photoelectric and ionization… both of them operate using either the domestic power supply or a nine-volt battery and contain two basic modules:

• A sensor that detects smoke
• A shrill horn used to alert people about the smoke

Man fitting a smoke alarm
Some smoke alarms can be fitted by the home handyman. But for full safety compliance and a professional installation, contact FCF Fire and Electrical.

Photoelectric detectors

These detectors employ a high pitched electronic horn, a light sensitive diode (LSD) and a light emitting diode (LED). Light beams from the latter are directed at the former and keeps the circuit active. When smoke blocks the flow of light from the LED to the LSD, it triggers the circuit, allowing power to flow into the horn, which then emits a loud noise that alerts people.

Ionisation detectors

These detectors comprise of an ionization chamber containing two plates as well as a source of ionizing radiation. The power supply sends a positive voltage to one plate and a negative voltage to the other plate. The source of the radiation discharges subatomic particles consisting of two neutrons and two protons at a constant rate. The circuitry of the detector detects this miniscule amount of electrical current, which these protons and neutrons moving towards the two plates. When smoke goes inside the ionization chamber, it decreases this flow of current by neutralizing the ions. The detector detects the drop in current between the two plates and triggers the horn. Such detectors are more sensitive than their photoelectric counterparts are.

What are laws regarding smoke alarms in each Australian state?

There are different laws concerning usage of smoke detectors Australia. You need to install this gadget in Australian Capital Territory only if you are constructing a new residence. According to Tasmanian laws, you should install this gadget if you plan to rent your abode. Western Australia laws demand fixing smoke alarms in sold, hired, or tenanted buildings. From 2017 onwards, all homes in Queensland have to be equipped with smoke alarms.

Contact FCF today

It is better to be safe than sorry by installing an appropriate smoke alarm in your home or business. Contact FCF Fire and Electrical today for assistance with smoke alarms wherever you are in Australia.