How much does it cost to install a smoke alarm?

In Australia, smoke alarms are now inexpensive consumer items. National hardware chains have reduced prices dramatically.

Basic portable photoelectric smoke alarms are available for $12-$15 each. (including a 9v replaceable battery). Most homeowners will conduct DIY installations of portable smoke alarms. Trade attendance rates vary. e.g. $75-$85 for a handyman to attend, plus cost of smoke alarms.

Mains powered (hard-wired) photoelectric smoke alarms are available for $20-$35 each. (including a 9v replaceable battery).

Mains powered smoke alarms need installation by a Grade A Electrician. Homeowners should request a Certificate of Electrical Safety (CES). Typical CES fees are $15-25.

Grade A Electricians charge an upfront attendance fee of $85-95.

Grade A Electrician pricing is then charged on basis of time taken. (e.g. $80-90 per hour) and extra for materials (wiring/cable fittings). This labour rate is often broken down into 30 minute and 15 minutes blocks.

Expect all Trades to double the smoke alarm (RRP) pricing stated above.

NB… Homes built after 1Aug1997 must have mains powered smoke alarms in Victoria, Australia.

The Smoke Alarm Guy

Melbourne Fire Safety

Growing City, Growing Density – Shrinking Fire Safety

Melbourne is big and getting bigger. We are told it’s set to speed up further still. In fact, by some measures, we have already overtaken Sydney.

The prohibitive cost of infrastructure to support the urban sprawl has more recently resulted in urban planning authorities encouraging higher density living. As Australians, we are used to a high standard of living. However higher density lifestyles do come with downsides and can place a damper on that standard of living.

Melbourne Skyline

Higher density lifestyles do come with downsides, and increased risk of fire.

Today we are living closer together, often in homes constructed of lighter materials than those built for generations prior. Add in the greater presence of more flammable materials within our home furnishings, we have a greater risk on our hands from a fire evacuation perspective. Particularly with townhouse design styles. Read more

Airbnb fire protection

Playing With Fire: Tenants Moonlighting on Airbnb Place Rent Rolls at Fire Risk

Whether you’ve used one on your travels, or you simply live near one, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of Airbnb. Founded less than ten years ago, the online short-term accommodation hub is now a global phenomenon.

Over the past two years, I’ve stayed in three Airbnbs in which the hosts were tenants, not owner-occupiers. Each time, when I pointed out the lack of smoke alarms, they seemed confused or reluctant to discuss the issue. Smoke alarms are considered a fixture on tenancy agreements, and installation is the landlord’s responsibility.

Airbnb: High on Convenience, Low on Fire Safety Standards

It’s no overstatement to say Airbnb has revolutionised accommodation. It’s also important to note that every new technology is met with scepticism. We each have different views on the pros and cons of Airbnb and other disruptive business models. But one thing we can all agree on is the need for safety standards to be maintained. This is vital, whether the residents are owner-occupiers, renters or holidaymakers. While celebrating the technological progress and innovation of companies like Airbnb, we should never lose sight of our longstanding community safety standards. Read more

Fire Escape plan for children

Your children may not hear the smoke alarm. How do you protect them?

It’s a parent’s nightmare: the house is on fire and they can’t reach their children. Worse, even if the smoke alarm is going off experts say your children may not hear it, so they may not save themselves.

Having a working, reliable smoke alarm has proven time and again to save lives from house fires. However, smoke alarms are only one piece of the safety puzzle. Forensic scientists and fire investigators are warning parents that smoke alarms may not wake children.

Can children hear smoke alarms?

Can children hear smoke alarms?

According to research, the frequency of the alarms may be too high-pitched for young children to hear, especially for male children. Children are biologically different. They sleep differently than adults and they remain in a deep sleep longer than adults. Because of this, a smoke alarm may not be enough to rouse them from sleep.

The fire brigade, as well as smoke alarm providers, recommend that families have a solid fire escape plan in place. Parents are encouraged to practise the plan with the children but remember it’s a lot different to practise in a controlled situation than it will be going through an uncontrolled fire.

As parents are developing the family’s fire escape plan, experts recommend they also plan for how they will help children who are not awakened by the alarm. By having a tested plan in place that has been practised, parent’s will be able to quickly assess the situation and assist the children. In the case of fire, seconds can make a life-saving difference. Read more