Smoke alarm maintenance, while not the most exciting topic, is integral to ensuring the safety of a property and its residents. Legislation has been introduced all around Australia to ensure all rental properties are all fitted with working smoke alarms that get checked regularly, however many home owners still do not have working systems in their homes. These homeowners are putting their lives and the lives of their families at risk. Due to the strict legislation put in place by the Australian Government, property managers are extremely cautious about ensuring the alarms in their rentals are regularly checked and maintained and for good reason! The thought of having a tenants house burn down and them lose all their belongings or worse, is a scary one.
We spoke about this topic with rental guardian, Andrew, one of Brisbanes leading property managers. We are very cautious that all of the fire alarms in our rental properties are managed and maintained regularly. One dead battery or broken unit might be the difference between life and death. Even a small window of time, say only 3 minutes, could be enough warning for you and your family to get to safety should there be a fire in your home or apartment. We cant stand the thought of any of our tenants losing their property or their lives, so we are very careful that each of our units is regularly checked even more often than the Queensland legislation requires. While this legislation varies slightly from state to state the standard across all states and territories is similar and has been put in place to protect the lives of all tenant citizens.
To ensure that the alarm in your home in correctly maintained, even if you are in a rental property that is being managed correctly, test your alarm every few weeks. Most alarms will have a test button on the front, and some will have one on the back. You can press this to ensure the alarm still works and will go off if smoke is present in your home. If your alarm appears faulty try it out with a new battery. If it still doesnt work replace the unit or contact your rental management agency immediately so they can have a new unit installed.
Also ensure you have sufficient smoke alarms spread throughout your home. High risk areas include the kitchen and bathroom, but fires can start in any part of the home at any time, so all areas should be within close proximity to an alarm. In or around bedrooms are a great place to put alarms because the risk of a fire taking your life is highest while you are sleeping.
Correct installation and maintenance of smoke alarms has saved many lives in the past, and it could save yours too. Make sure you do your part to keep your family, pets and yourself safe this season.