Tips & Troubleshooting

SMOKE ALARMS

Please don’t remove the smoke alarms!

Instead, use this easy to follow guide with tips for Troubleshooting issues with smoke alarms.

Smoke alarms are installed for your safety and are required by law in rental properties. We know this helpful guide provided by our Safety Squad team will give you the best tips and information on smoke alarms that you’ll need throughout your tenancy.

Are your alarms functioning normally?

A red light flashing every 30-60 seconds indicates the alarm is functioning normally.
A red light flashing every 30-60 seconds indicates the alarm is functioning normally.
A green LED light indicates the alarm is connected to a mains power.

Suspect a faulty alarm?

Please contact your Property Manager who will arrange for us to inspect as soon as possible.

COMMON CAUSES OF FALSE SOUNDING ALARMS

HUMIDITY

Humidity is a common condition in Australia. When the humidity is high, condensation can create water vapour and cause the smoke alarm to respond as it would to smoke.

Tip

  • In high humidity, try gently blowing air on the smoke alarm using a hair dryer which should help to evaporate moisture.

INSECTS

When there’s obstruction inside the smoke alarm such as insects or dirt, the alarm may sound because of interference with the internal sensor.

Tip

  • Deter insects by spraying insect repellent around each alarm (not directly on the alarm).
  • Every 3 months gently dust and vacuum each smoke alarm to keep them dust free.

COOKING

When cooking on a stove or when using an appliance like a frypan or toaster, fumes can cause the smoke alarm to detect it and the alarm will sound.

Tip

  • Always use the range hood exhaust fan when cooking.
  • Place the portable appliance away from the smoke alarm location.
  • Open windows and doors for ventilation when cooking.
    If the smoke alarm has a ‘hush’ button fitted, use a broom handle to push it.
  • Wave a towel near the smoke alarm to disperse the fumes.

STEAM

Steam created from hot water in bathrooms and laundries can cause smoke alarms in nearby locations to sound.

Tip

  • Use exhaust fans in bathrooms.
  • Shut doors of the wet areas to contain steam.
  • Open windows for ventilation.

WEAK BATTERIES

Smoke alarms must be either hardwired or powered by a non-removable 10 year battery. The battery may be due to expire and in this case, the smoke alarm will make a ‘chirping’ sound.

Tip

  • Look at the sticker or stamp on the smoke alarm and check the year of manufacture sticker or stamp. If it is nearly 10 years old or older, report it to the Property Manager.
  • Contact your Property Manager when you hear chirping to report the issue.
  • Check the battery is working once a month as Qld Fire & Emergency Services (QFES) recommends.. Tenants are required by law to test and clean each smoke alarm in the dwelling at least once every 12 months. Refer to the Information Statement RTA Form 17a that was given to you at the start of your tenancy.

POWER ISSUES

Hard wired smoke alarms can start to beep due to a power surge. Some electricity suppliers in some QLD and NSW locations use an off peak signal in the network which can set off smoke alarms. This could be why you may find that smoke alarms in the property beep at the same time each day.

Tip

  • Once the power issue passes, the smoke alarm should stop beeping, but if not, you can try to reset the power by flipping the power switch in the circuit box off and on again.
  • Check with your electricity provider for advice.

RAPID AIR MOVEMENT

Rapid air movement from fans and heaters can set off a smoke alarm.

Tip

  • If this happens, move the portable fan or heater away from the smoke alarm location.
  • If the ceiling fan is the issue when in use, turn off the ceiling fan and report this issue to your Property Manager.

Always

  • Test the smoke alarms every
    month using the test button.
  • Clean the outside of the alarms every 6 months with a vacuum soft brush.
  • Change the battery if it is flat. An intermittent beep sound indicates a new battery is required.

Never

  • Tamper with alarms, unless to replace a battery.
  • Remove a smoke alarm.
  • Cover or paint over an alarm.

If no danger is present, press the button to silence the alarm. The alarm will beep frequently for approximately 8-10 minutes as it resets itself and returns to normal operation. If multiple alarms are interconnected, then you may have to press more than one hush button depending on the brand of alarm.

The alarm that sounded first will have the flashing red LED light, please take note of this alarm as it will aid us in identifying the potentially faulty alarm.

WHEN TO CONTACT YOUR PROPERTY MANAGER ABOUT SMOKE ALARMS

Contact your Property Manager when:

  • It’s in business hours or as otherwise your Property Manager has advised; and
  • You suspect there’s a faulty smoke alarm
  • To follow the laws in place regarding smoke alarms as outlined in the Information Statement (RTA Form 17a) that was provided to you at the start of your tenancy.
  • If you need advice about smoke alarms at the leased property
  • You need to change the date for when Safety Squad are scheduled to attend to smoke alarms at the property.

WHEN TO CONTACT SAFETY SQUAD ABOUT SMOKE ALARMS

Call Safety Squad on 1300 360 010 or email info@safetysquad.com.au when:

  • Your managing agency is closed; and
  • You suspect there’s a faulty smoke alarm; and
  • The property you lease is enrolled in our Safety Squad smoke alarm servicing package
  • You need to change the date for when Safety Squad are scheduled to attend to smoke alarms at the property.

SMOKE ALARM MANUALS

EMERALD PLANET

QUELL

FIRST ALERT

FIRE SAFETY

TOP TIPS FOR TENANTS

PERSONAL CONTENTS INSURANCE

  • To protect your personal property from a fire or other disaster event eg storm or flood, it is highly recommended for you to arrange for your own Contents Insurance.
  • It’s important to be aware that the Landlord’s insurances do not cover the tenant’s personal property.

Fire prevention is the best place to start to stay safe.

Tips:

  • Store your electric blanket safety – roll, don’t fold. Folding can damage the wiring inside.
  • Turn off electric blankets and heaters before leaving home and going to sleep.
  • Before going to bed, turn off all electrical appliances at the powerpoint.
  • Keep everything one metre away from your heater.
  • Never use wheat bags in bed.
  • Don’t leave the dryer operating when you’re not home.
  • Never smoke in bed. It’s extremely dangerous.
  • Only use child proof lighters and deep ashtrays.
  • Keep matches and lighters out of reach of children.

Fire Escape Plan

A smoke alarm will alert you to a fire, but what you do next is a matter of life and death. To survive a fire, it is essential you know how to escape the home where you live.

  • Ensure everyone in your home knows the smoke alarm sound and what to do if they hear it.
  • Make a fire escape plan. Draw a map of each level of your home showing all doors and windows. Discuss the map and plan with everyone who lives with you. This will be important to do if you have recently relocated from another property.
  • Use the Fire Escape Plan from Qld Fire & Emergency Services (QFES): Click Here
  • Make a fire escape plan around your abilities. If you wear hearing aids or eyeglasses, put them next to your bed while you are sleeping.
  • Choose a safe meeting place outside for everyone in your household to meet at eg the letterbox.
  • Practise your fire escape plan regularly, and at night with all the lights off since this is the most common time fires occur.
  • Practice your fire escape on hands and knees as it is important to stay low as smoke fumes rise.
  • Plan 2 ways out of every room.
  • Make sure all windows and doors open easily. Report any issues to your Property Manager.
  • If there is a fire in your home, get out and stay out. Never go back inside and dial Triple Zero (000).
  • Make sure keys to all locked doors are readily accessible in case you need to escape.
  • Never leave cooking or any other open flame including candles or oil burners unattended.
  • If you have a gas, electric or wood BBQ always check that it’s in safe working condition.
  • Clean the lint filter of your clothes dryer after every use.
  • Never overload powerpoints.
  • Switch off appliances after using them.
  • Never leave candles, cooking or open flames unattended.
  • Don’t store flammable items near your cooktop.
  • Keep portable heaters away from bedding, curtains, tablecloths.
  • Never smoke in bed.
  • Be extremely careful when using candles.

Safe Home

Did you know Qld Fire & Emergency Services (QFES) offer a free Safe Home Visit?

One short visit is all it takes to help make your home safer.

Call 137468 to book your free home visit or book online www.qfes.qld.gov.au

EXIT & EMERGENCY LIGHTING

Do you own or manage a building or premises that requires compliant exit and emergency lighting?

This checklist may be helpful to determine if your exit and emergency lighting is compliant or needs attention.

Layout of Building / Premises

Emergency Exits

Safety Lighting

TEST & TAG EQUIPMENT

If your electrical equipment, appliances or cords require testing and tagging for safety and compliance, book now for Safety Squad to quote or service.

The following information and tips may be helpful to you.

What is Test and Tag?

Test and Tag is the name given to the process of checking the safety of portable electrical equipment, appliances and cords in accordance with AS/NZS3760 or 3012 Standards.

Test and Tag involves two parts:

  1. Visual inspection of the electrical item for any damage
  2. Electrically testing it with a Portable Appliance Tester

In Queensland, there are standard test and tag requirements that apply. This includes the requirement for Test and Tag Colours and Intervals or test frequency.

Test & Tag Colours - Queensland

The following Test Tag Colours apply to the Construction , MIning or Demolition industry, with certain colour tags indicating the particular quarter of the year the testing has been conducted in. If your business is not in one of the above industries, then it is not required to use any specific tag colour for any months.

Test & Tag Intervals - Queensland

Testing intervals are a Standard requirement and depend on the type of environment an electrical appliance is in. Refer to the following recommendations:

ENVIRONMENT APPLIANCE IS INRECOMMENDED TESTING FREQUENCY
Building, Construction and demolition3 months
Factories, Warehouses, Production6 months
An environment where the equipment/supply cord is prone to flexing or open to abuse12 months
An environment where the equipment/supply cord is not prone to flexing or open to abuse5 years

Tips:

  • Check all of the electrical equipment, appliances and cords in your workplace for the details on the Test Tag label on each item.
  • Check the date the item was last tested.
  • Check the next Test Due date. If it is nearing the Test Due Date or past it – contact us for a quote.

FIRE BLANKETS

Fire blankets are ideal to have in case of a small fire in a home, kitchen, garage, office, classroom and a vehicle. They are suitable for use to put out a minor fire or if someone’s clothing has caught fire.

Fire Blanket Tips

  • Purchase a fire blanket online or from somewhere like your local Bunnings or Officeworks store.
  • Although a fire blanket is treated with flame resistant chemicals and can withstand temperatures of up to 500 degrees celsius, remember that it is only effective in cases of a minor fire.
  • Install the fire blanket on the inside of an easy to access cupboard door that is near a pathway to an exit yet near to where a fire most commonly occurs e.g. 56% of residential fires start in the kitchen. Follow the installation and use instructions.
  • Install a FIRE BLANKET SIGN for easy location identification.
  • Educate all occupants of the home or office on the location and use of the fire blanket.
  • In the event of a fire:
    • Turn off the gas / electricity supply that can contribute to the fire eg gas on the stove.
    • Cover the fire completely with the fire blanket which stops oxygen reaching the fire.
    • Roll up sleeves when using a fire blanket and wrap the top edges of the blanket around your hands to prevent burns.
    • Gently lay the blanket down on the fire instead of throwing it over the fire. This will help prevent flames spreading.
    • If clothes a person is wearing catches fire, wrap the blanket around the person to smother the flames out.
    • Leave the blanket in place for at least 30 minutes and don’t touch it.
    • Evacuate the area and call 000 for fire and emergency services if you aren’t able to put out the fire with the fire blanket.
  • After having to use a fire blanket
    • Make sure it is disposed of as it can only be used once.
    • Replace the used fire blanket and install the new one.

SAFETY SWITCHES

Safety switches are insurance against electric shock as they shut off electricity supply when a current leak is detected. This avoids serious electric shock by stopping the current flowing through a person.

Here are some helpful tips for the Safety Switch in your home.

Source: electricalsafety.qld.gov.au

Here are some helpful tips for the Safety Switch in your home. Source: electricalsafety.qld.gov.au

  • Check your switchboard to see if there is a safety switch installed. Safety switches have a ‘T’ or ‘test’ button on the front face.
  • If buying a domestic property without a safety switch you must install a safety switch for the power circuits within 3 months of a property transfer.
  • If selling a property – establish if a safety switch is installed for powerpoint circuits and you must declare this on the Standard Sales Contract and Form 24 Property Transfer.
  • If renting a home – The landlord must ensure a safety switch has been installed for the powerpoints within 6 months of the tenancy agreement if there is not one already installed. Refer to your property manager if you have concerns about the safety switch.
  • Testing Recommendations
    • The Electrical Safety Office recommends checking the safety switch test functionality every 3 months.
    • As a reminder, test the safety switch every time you receive your quarterly electricity account or set up a reminder on your calendar.

How to test the safety switch:

  • Let everyone in your household know you are about to test the safety switches, especially if they’re using a computer or recording something on TV as the testing process will cut power to those circuits connected to the safety switch.
  • At the switchboard, simply push the button marked ‘T’ or ‘test’.
  • If the safety switch flicks off and cuts the power to the intended circuits, it is working correctly.
  • Check inside your home to see which lights or appliances have been turned off. The circuits turned off by the safety switch test mean they are protected by it. If it doesn’t turn off the power, if renting, contact your property manager or otherwise contact your licensed electrician to check it immediately.
  • After testing, turn the safety switch back on. Depending on the safety switch type, push it back upwards or twist it into the ‘on’ position. For circuits with a fridge or air conditioner, wait at least 2 – 3 minutes before resetting to avoid possible appliance damage.

What to do when the safety switch trips

  • If the safety switch has tripped, before contacting your property manager or an electrician, try unplugging every appliance from every wall plug and socket. This includes unplugging everything in every room and includes the most common tripping culprits i.e. TV, powerboards, microwave, dishwasher, kettle, toaster, washing machine, dryer, fridge, pool pump, gas cooktop igniter.
  • After unplugging everything, reset the safety switch. If it still trips, it is usually from an overlooked item that is still plugged in. Repeat the above steps.
  • After resetting the safety switch, if it stays on:
    • That’s great! A good idea is to first turn on a radio or music loudly so you can hear it as you go through the house and plug in one item at a time. If the safety switch trips after plugging in an item, you’ll easily know when the radio / music cuts off. This helps to identify the faulty item. Unplug the faulty item and don’t use it again. It needs to be replaced or repaired.
  • If the safety switch clicks off and nothing is left plugged in:
    • It may be a wiring problem rather than a faulty appliance. In this case, it is an urgent call to your property manager or an electrician.