Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services and Minister for Corrective Services
The Honourable Bill Byrne
Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Changes to smoke alarm laws to save lives in QLD
Queensland homes will become safer over the next decade under comprehensive legislation introduced to parliament today by Fire and Emergency Services Minister Bill Byrne to mandate the installation of high-tech smoke detectors by 2027.
Announcing the new regulations, Mr Byrne said the important reforms were about saving lives.
“Tragically, more than 150 people have died in house fires in Queensland since 2004,” Mr Byrne said.
“We know smoke alarms play a critical role in letting people know there is a fire and greatly increase the chances of people getting out and getting out quickly.
“However, their effectiveness depends on the type of alarm used, where they’re located, their power source and whether they are connected to one another.”
Under the planned changes to be phased in over ten years, smoke alarms in domestic dwellings must be photoelectric, hard-wired or powered by a 10-year lithium battery, installed in bedrooms in addition to living areas and escape paths, and connected to other alarms in the house.
Mr Byrne said the State Government was committed to eliminating house fire fatalities and was acting on the recommendations of the State Coroner.
“We have acted because community safety is a priority and the coroner made very clear recommendations,” Mr Byrne said.
“Working smoke alarms save lives.
“This is about ensuring all Queenslanders are using the best possible smoke alarms available to maximise their chances of getting their families out of a house fire in time.
“A recent Bill introduced by the LNP did not implement all recommendations of the Coroner in relations to this.
“Labor has listened to the Coroner and listened to the experts.”
Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said action needed to be taken to ensure that Queenslanders never see a repeat of the horrific house fire that claimed 11 lives and devastated the south side community of Logan.
“The Palaszczuk Government will be fully implementing the coroner’s recommendations from the tragic Slacks Creek house fire in 2011,” Mr de Brenni said.
“The implementation process will see approximately 72,000 State Government owned housing properties fitted with smoke alarms that meet the new safety standards within 5 years.
“We anticipate the upfront rollout in Government housing will lead to innovation and reduced costs for other Queensland households.
“These proposals are considered and measured reforms which will protect Queensland lives and property.”
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Katarina Carroll welcomed the reforms, saying research indicated working smoke alarms reduced the risk of death in a house fire by more than 50%.
“QFES has long recommended the use of photoelectric smoke alarms over ionised smoke alarms,” Ms Carroll said.
“Photoelectric smoke alarms are more effective at detecting a wider range of fires and are good at sensing smouldering fires or thick smoke.
“But just as having a photoelectric smoke alarm is essential to alerting your family to a fire, so is having a home fire escape plan.
“Unfortunately, it’s often the reality that people learn about fire safety after the fact, and these reforms aims to stop this happening.”
The provisions are to be implemented over a 10-year period, with new dwellings or properties undergoing substantial renovations required to comply from 2017.
From 1st of January 2022, dwellings that are sold or leased will need to meet new safety standards.
Households will be required to install a photoelectric smoke alarm any time they are replacing an existing alarm.