Calls for changes to Australia’s smoke alarm regulations after house fire


Australia’s worst house fire prompts calls for changes to smoke alarm regulations   Source: Queensland Government
Australia’s worst house fire prompts calls for changes to smoke alarm regulations. Photo: Queensland Government

A recent coronial inquest into a 2012 Logan house fire revealed the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service (QFRS) recommended changes to the current smoke alarm regulations.

QFRS Chief State Community Safety Operations Director Neil Reed said the service wants stronger smoke alarm regulations to minimise the risk of fatalities in a house fire.

“The recommendation is that we install smoke alarms in bedrooms and interconnect them with the ones in the hallway to give the people more chance of getting out when there is a fire,” he said.

Chief fire investigator at the Slacks Creek house fire Inspector Bernard Nunn confirmed that if working smoke alarms had been installed at the property there would have been time for the occupants to evacuate.

Complete Compliance National Compliance Officer Julie-Anne O’Neill said at least two working photoelectric battery operated alarms should be installed in all Queensland properties to decrease the chance of fatalities in a house fire.

“I cannot stress the importance of working smoke alarms. People usually do not wake to the smell of smoke alone and it actually encourages a deeper sleep,” she said.

That is why the smoke alarms are so loud, so you have a chance of waking up… Every second counts to escaping alive when there is a fire.”

Ms O’Neill said that although the change will be a gradual process, it is necessary.

“Personally I do think that all properties should have smoke alarms installed in the bedrooms, however with most people it comes down to cost and it will be quite expensive to implement this recommendation into existing properties,” Ms O’Neill said.

“I think it should be mandatory in all new constructions and any properties undergoing major renovations that alarms be installed in all bedrooms and they are interconnected with the smoke alarm in the hallway.”