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Smoke Alarms: how many & what type

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Queensland Fire and Emergency Services’ Recommendation
• All residential accommodation be fitted with photoelectric type smoke alarms.
• Smoke alarms either hard-wired or powered by a 10-year lithium battery.
• Smoke alarms located – ; on each level of living space; outside each bedroom; and ; in every bedroom
• All smoke alarms should be interconnected.
• Every home should have a practised escape plan.

Interconnected smoke alarms is when one smoke alarm is activated, all interconnected smoke alarms are activated.  The connecting of smoke alarms can be done wirelessly (via RF module) or hard-wired. The time occupants have to escape is increased.

Power supply options for smoke alarms
You can buy smoke alarms from hardware stores, electrical retailers, or through your electrician. There are two power supply options for smoke alarms – battery or hard-wired.

Hard-wired Smoke Alarms
A hard-wired smoke alarm is connected to a home’s electrical system and has battery back-up power supply.
• Considered more reliable in the longer term.
• Uses a battery to provide back-up power if the AC power fails. Back up batteries can be either 9-volt or built-in and tamper proof rechargeable lithium.
• Power-on indicator.

10-year Lithium Cell Battery
A 10-year lithium cell battery can be used in smoke alarms that are stand-alone or connected to a home’s electrical system.
• Easy to install.
• Has long term reliability.
• Battery cannot be removed.
• Less expensive than hard-wired.

9-Volt Smoke Alarms
A 9 volt smoke alarm, also called battery operated smoke alarms, are stand alone and operated only by a battery. These are the minimal legal requirement and do not provide the best safety for occupants.

Ideal Locations
Inside each bedroom, in the hallway and living areas, and connected together.

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Download an information sheet on installation of your smoke alarms from here.

Source:; and

Do you have a Safehome?

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By law, all homes and units in Queensland must be fitted with smoke alarms.

Smoke alarms save lives. Without them in your home, your risk of death from a house fire is up to 3 times higher. In Queensland, about three-quarters of all home fire deaths happen in homes without smoke alarms — nearly half of all house fire deaths occur when people are sleeping.

Safehome is a free safety and fire awareness inspection service conducted by Queensland Fire & Emergency Services. During the Safehome inspection local firefighters visit your home to help you to reduce fire risk and discuss your fire safety concerns.


Maintaining and replacing smoke alarms


  • Check the battery once a month by pressing the test button. If you cannot reach the button easily, use a broom handle
  • Keep smoke alarms clean. Dust can interfere with their operation
  • Replace the batteries at least once a year. In most models when batteries are low, the detector will sound a short ‘beep’ every minute or so to remind you to replace the batteries
  • Never paint smoke alarms
  • Do not disable the alarm if cooking smoke or steam sets it off, instead turn on a fan or open a window to clear the air
  • Do not remove the batteries from your smoke alarm
  • Replace smoke alarms before the expiry date on the manufacturer’s warranty.
  • Read more about smoke alarms on the Queensland Fire and Emergency website.

Download an information sheet on maintaining your smoke alarms from here.

Source:; and


Stay safer up there, switch off down here

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A little reminder that could save a life.

Even with the power off at the switchboard, there is still a risk of electric shock because the service lines coming in off the street are still live.

Our message is to “stay safer up there” and we recognise that turning off all the main power switches at the switchboard does not mitigate all risk, but it does reduce the risk.

When you’re up in the ceiling space, even with the power off, avoid contact with electrical cables and equipment as some circuits may still be live.

Use torches and cordless tools so you don’t need power when you’re in the ceiling space. If you must have power, turn off all circuits except the one supplying the socket outlet you need to use, and make sure it is protected by a safety switch. Don’t forget to test the safety switch before you go up into the ceiling space.

Some electrical equipment such as hot water systems or stoves may have a separate switch. The safest approach is to turn off all the switches and circuit breakers at the main switchboard.

Once you’ve turned the power off, tape the switches or label them so someone else doesn’t turn them back on while you’re working in the ceiling. Always let someone know you’re going up into the ceiling space.  There could be other hazards in the ceiling space too, including:

  • solar PV systems have DC supply cables that may be live during daylight hours
  • damaged electrical cables or equipment that should be repaired by a licensed electrical contractor
  • insulation material that should be checked to ensure it is not covering any electrical fittings or equipment, especially down lights heat, working at height, dangerous vermin, sharp objects and asbestos containing materials.

Never do your own electrical work

It is illegal and can invalidate your home insurance. Installing or repairing electrical equipment or cables must only be done by a licensed electrician.

Test before you touch

‘Test before you touch’ is a valuable reminder for electrical workers, but we remind homeowners not to do their own electrical work.



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Repelec has released USBsockets, a patented wall socket range that combines an Australian Standard approved dual 240 V power socket with powerful 3.5 A twin USB-powered charging outlets.

The range is a direct replacement to the standard Australian GPO double power point, which means no messy wiring issues and the socket can be installed in minutes by a qualified electrical contractor.

While cheaper USB wall sockets (also known as wall plates) may be available, many of these are not approved or do not fit standard socket wall holes. USBsockets are compliance approved and quality assured with solid components, along with a sleek design in a range of colour options.

The LED ports also emit a soothing green LED light when the doors are open and charging is in progress. USBsockets are available through leading electrical wholesalers.



Off Peak Tariff Charges

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Off Peak Tariff Charges

Changes have occurred to the terms and conditions of off-peak tariffs in regards to restrictions and approved appliances. These changes are as follows:

A customers off-peak tariff cannot be used for the purpose of filling a battery storage unit.

Customers can now only connect the following Approved Items to an Off- Peak Tariff:

  • Electric storage water heaters with thermostatically controlled or continuously operating heating units.
  • Boost elements of Solar-heated water heaters.
  • Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment
  • Pool Filtration Systems
  • Other appliances including air conditioners, washing machines and dishwashers that have been previously approved to be hard wired to an economy tariff circuit.

This means no new air conditioners, washing machines and dishwashers are allowed to be connected.


Pool & Hot Water Rewards Program Extended

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Great news! Energex has extended its Pool & Hot Water Rewards Program until 30 June 2016.

Eligibile pool pumps and hot water systems connected to an economy tariff T31 (NTC9000) or T33 (NTC9100) will continue to receive a reward of $200.

A customers reward is dependent on the date their application is submitted to Energex and does not take into consideration purchase or installatiomedium-smalln dates. Therefore all applications must be submitted on or before 30 June 2016 to be eligible.

For more information and a list of Frequently Asked Questions refer to the Energex website.




Use safe Christmas lights

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Use safe Christmas lights

It’s that time of the year when Christmas lights make an appearance across Queensland adding fun and excitement to festivities.

Important safety tips

Before you start decorating, there are some important safety tips to be aware of, to ensure your Christmas doesn’t end in disaster.

  • Use indoor lights indoors and outdoor lights outdoors.
  • Buy Australian-compliant Christmas lights (be wary of purchasing non-compliant lights over the internet from overseas).
  • Check old Christmas lights before re-using them.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Don’t alter or modify lights.
  • Ensure all lights, extension leads and power boards are suitable for the intended use (e.g external or internal).
  • Test your safety switch and smoke detector to make sure they are working.
  • Keep Christmas lights out of reach of children.
  • Always turn off decorative lighting before going to bed or leaving your house.



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The Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection is partnering with Lighting Council Australia in a voluntary product stewardship initiative aimed at increasing the recycling rate of end-of-life emergency and exit lighting batteries.

Emergency and exit lighting batteries are among the most hazardous of all batteries. Cadmium, nickel and lead are toxic heavy metals that need to be carefully managed to minimise their potential impacts on humans and the natural environment. Recycling ensures that these materials are safely recovered rather than disposed to landfill.

EXITCYCLE was officially launched on 7 October 2015 by the Hon Dr Steven Miles MP, Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection. It is expected that a Queensland pilot will produce guidance on issues involved in recycling these batteries from metropolitan, regional and remote sites. The pilot will run for 12 months. It is hoped that a national emergency lighting battery recycling scheme will be developed at the conclusion of the pilot.

Private and government sector organisations in Queensland are being approached to become Signatories to EXITCYCLE.

Commercial Users commit to recycle at least 95% (and preferably all) of their end-of-life emergency and exit lighting batteries, or in the case of Facilitators, commit to promote the scheme to users of these batteries.

Visit Exit Cycle at


See how LED compares

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What’s the difference? See how Energy Saving & LED’s compare to Ordinary Globes

You’ll need to check your light fitting to find the MAX wattage that the fitting takes, and use our table below for the globe conversions. Never exceed the maximum recommended wattage. A bulb with too high a wattage can produce excess heat that can create a fire hazard or damage the fixture.