In South Australia, legislation is in place to make smoke alarms compulsory for all residential buildings.
Home owners are required, by Regulation 76B under the Development Act, 1993, to install battery powered or hard-wired (240 volt mains powered) smoke alarms*.
* Houses built since 1 January 1995 must be equipped with hard-wired smoke alarms. All other houses must be equipped with at least 9 volt battery powered smoke alarms. When a house with 9 volt battery powered smoke alarms is sold the new owner has six months to install alarms which are hard-wired to the 240 volt power supply or powered by 10 year life, non-replaceable, non-removable batteries.
Penalties apply for non-compliance.
Smoke obscures vision and causes intense irritation to the eyes. This, combined with the effects of the poisons in the smoke, can cause disorientation, impaired judgement and panic reducing the victim's ability to find an exit.
Most fire-related deaths result from the inhalation of toxic fire gases rather than from direct contact with flame or exposure to heat.
Correctly located smoke alarms in your home give early warning of fire, providing you with the precious time which may be vital to your survival.
The installation of smoke alarms forms one part of a Home Fire Escape Plan. It is vitally important that every family has a complete Home Fire Escape Plan which is practised and understood by all occupants. Advice on the development of a Home Fire Escape Plan is available from the South Australian Country Fire Service (CFS) by contacting the CFS on either 8463 4200 or e-mail Community Education Unit