Since 1997, Wired smoke alarms are mandatory in Australian homes and are the minimum legal standard in Australia. Battery powered alarms are recommended to enhance the protection of your family and home where wired smoke alarms aren’t install. CAVIUS recommend you install 10 year battery smoke alarms to increase the level of protection beyond the minimum that a single mains powered smoke alarm provides. All bedrooms and living rooms should be covered by a smoke alarm and all kitchens should have a thermal heat alarm installed.
10 year battery smoke alarms are also permitted in Australian homes, where it’s not possible to conceal the wiring when installing a smoke alarm. For example, if you have a concrete ceiling, and there is no other suitable alternative smoke alarm location, you can install a 10 year battery powered smoke alarm.
Do I need a Licensed Electrical Contractor to install my wired smoke alarm?
Yes for mains power supplied smoke alarms. No for battery powered alarms like CAVIUS. These smoke alarms you can install them yourself. CAVIUS smoke alarms do not require a licensed electrical contractor to install, as they are not connected to the mains power.
Does Cavius offer wired smoke alarms?
At this stage, CAVIUS does not offer wired smoke alarm solutions. Where it is possible to conceal the wiring, a mains powered smoke alarm is required to be fitted in all existing residential buildings.
Do I need Cavius Smoke Alarms as well as a mains powered Smoke Alarm?
Yes. We recommend a hybrid approach of both wired and battery powered alarms to fully protect every room in your home. Many houses will have a single mains powered smoke alarm in the hallway. This is usually the most central part of the home, however can sometimes be the furtherest away from where fires are likely to start.
We recommend adding a CAVIUS smoke alarm to each bedroom, and a CAVIUS Thermal Heat alarm to the kitchen to protect areas where fires are most likely to start.
Where should I install my smoke alarms?
In addition to the minimum requirement of one smoke alarm per level, Fire & Rescue recommends installing smoke alarms in all rooms where people sleep and the hallways leading to sleeping areas.
Avoid fitting smoke alarms in or near your kitchen. Instead, install a CAVIUS Thermal Heat Alarm.
The ideal position for the mains powered alarm is on the ceiling between sleeping and living areas.
The plans below compare the minimum legal requirement with what is recommended protection in the event of a fire in some of the most likely locations in your home.
My house is two storied. Where do the wired smoke alarms go?
The minimum requirement is a wired smoke alarm per level. The plans below compare the minimum legal requirement with what is recommended protection. Install battery powered smoke alarms in each room, a thermal heat alarm in the kitchen and a wired, mains powered smoke alarm in the hallway on each level.
How much extra protection do extra smoke alarms really give me?
The difference may only be a minute, or sometimes just a few seconds. In the event of fire, you’ll need every second you can to get out of the building safely. If you need a reminder, watch this video that shows just how fast a home is engulfed in flames in just three minutes temperatures reach over 1000 degrees as flammable gases get released from furniture causing the fire to ‘flashover’.
I’m an electrician who installs smoke alarms. Where can I find out more about the legislation?
The Department of Fire & Emergency Services provides the legal requirements as well as a Frequently Asked Questions document.
Ionisation or Photo-electric alarms?
The Department of Fire & Emergency Services Australia recommends photoelectric smoke alarms for use in the family home.
Photoelectric smoke alarms have a chamber with a light source and visible smoke entering the chamber makes the light scatter (like the dust in the air in a sunbeam of light), and in sufficient quantity makes the alarm sound. Photoelectric technology is generally more sensitive to the large smoke particles that tend to be produced by smouldering fires.
In today’s modern homes furnishings contain a significant amount of synthetic materials. These types of materials burn and give off large smoke particles. Sources of smouldering fires may also include poorly maintained electrical appliances or overloading power boards.
Most residential dwelling fires tend to produce large amounts of visible smoke. This is why photoelectric smoke alarms are considered superior to ionisation technology in providing early warning in a residential house fire.