One in five South East Queensland households don’t have operational smoke alarms

home vid placeholder3Damning new data has discovered 19 per cent of homes in South East Queensland * do not have operational smoke alarms installed.

The research, conducted by the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service (QFES) and obtained by Smoke Alarm Solutions, discovered a decreasing trend in the state-wide operational status of smoke alarms, with 80 per cent operational in 2018, down from 84 per cent in 2017 and 87 per cent in 2016.

The study found 37 per cent of South East Queensland residents have interconnected smoke alarms in their homes, just below the Queensland average (38 per cent).

State wide, the research discovered smoke alarms are being installed in more places within homes, but are not being tested or maintained as frequently (80 per cent – 2018, 85 per cent – 2017, 87 per cent – 2016).

In South East Queensland, smoke alarms are most commonly found in hallways (78 per cent) and living areas (66 per cent).

Surprisingly, the research, which gathered the opinions of 2,257 respondents found only 25 per cent of homes in South East Queensland have a smoke alarm in their main bedroom.

While smoke alarms are a critical element of household fire safety, other preparations are also important. The research discovered 43 per cent of South East Queensland residents felt they were prepared in the event of a structural fire compared to 37 per cent of Brisbane residents.

Troublingly, the QFES research also revealed only 31 per cent of South East Queensland households have developed a fire plan in the past year.

Smoke Alarm Solutions CEO Cameron Davis said the QFES research is an important reminder to Queenslanders to be prepared in the event of a fire.  

“The research proves there is more Queenslanders can be doing to protect their family and loved ones,” Mr Davis said.

“Operational smoke alarms should be in every house, unit or apartment. It’s shocking approximately one in five  South East Queensland households are playing Russian Roulette with fire safety.”

Mr Davis said the research is a strong reminder to be prepared for new smoke alarm legislation which comes into effect on 1 January 2022.

Introduced following an inquest into the tragic death of 11 people in a house fire at Slacks Creek in 2011, the legislation means every Queensland rental must:

  • Have smoke alarms installed in every bedroom;
  • Have smoke alarms powered by either 240 volt or 10-year lithium batteries;
  • Have interconnected smoke alarms;
  • Have photoelectric smoke alarms;
  • Ensure smoke alarms meet Australian Standard 3786:2014.

“Queensland is headed for a repeat of the pink-bats fiasco and the pool fence compliance debacle, unless Property Managers and Landlords immediately upgrade their rental properties to comply with looming legislation,” Mr Davis said.

“The 2022 legislation is vital because it protects Queenslanders, but it must be implemented properly,” Mr Davis said.

Smoke Alarm Solutions internal modelling paints a frightening picture. As of 1 May 2019, there are 682 working days until the legislation becomes law. Using current implementation rates, 799 rental properties a day must be upgraded for the Sunshine State to be compliant by the 1 January 2022 deadline.

“We’re about to reach the tipping point. Rental property owners have 35 months to upgrade their properties. If things don’t change, and fast, this goal will be unreachable,” Mr Davis said. 

“There could be serious consequences, properties will be unrentable and landlord insurance could be rendered void.”

Smoke Alarm Solutions is the largest provider of smoke alarm compliance and maintenance services to the Australian real estate industry and is ten times the size of its nearest professional competitor across Queensland.

The company provides a comprehensive risk-mitigation service down Australia’s eastern seaboard, which ensures landlords do adhere to their legislative responsibilities, property managers meet their duty of care requirements and tenants are safe from the dangers of fire.

Smoke Alarm Solutions has also been proactive in educating the sector via its informative investor and Property Manager new legislation breakfasts and sessions, as well as partnering with the REIQ at their education events.