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#145515 05/30/06 05:15 AM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 354
kiwi Offline OP
We've had a lot of threads on this forum regarding the lack of smoke detectors in houses.

What if the government charged all homeowners an extra $50 a year in rates and sent out 3 smoke detectors to every ratepayer. I know this isn't perfect, but can anyone suggest a better way of getting homeowners to install smoke detectors ?

Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 223
About a month ago it became compulsory in NSW to have smoke detectors fitted in every house, and if I've correctly interpreted the law, you are no longer able to sell a house without them.
Short of having someone to come and inspect every house in the state I don't see how it can be enforced.
An incident last week here with an electric blanket left on illustrated another failing...while there might be smoke detectors, more often than not the battery has been removed either because of false alarms or to stop the annoying beeping sound when the battery starts to die. Fortunately in this instance of the kids woke up in time and everyone got out, but last winter not all batteryless smoke detector owners were so lucky.
Even if it was compulsory to have them permanently wired into the mains supply, you can bet a fair percentage would get disconnected by the home occupier after a few false alarms.
Giving them away as a rate subsidised freebie would undoubtedly help, but again it's only those that want to use them who will...I've given them to people myself...6 months later you go back and it's up on the ceiling but with cover hanging open with no battery.
Having a 100 year old wooden house I wouldn't be without them, but ultimately some people just can't be saved from their own stupidity.

Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,803
Aussie, if you want to see how stupid and uneducated people really are after 10 years or more of compulsory education, watch some tv quiz shows-

QM: What is the National Anthem of New Zealand, apart from 'God Save the Queen'?
Contestant: Australia Fair?

QM: What 'A' is a dead-ended tube in the human intestine with no known function?
C: The arse.

QM: There are three states of matter, solid, liquid and ....?
C: Jelly?

QM: An Indian leader's name: Mahatma, his surname began with 'G'...?
C: Oh, I know that one Bob! Is it Geronimo?

QM: What religeon is the Pope?
C: Er... Is it Jewish?
Exasperated QM: That's close enough!

My all time favorite has to be Bob Monkhouse's story of a contestant on ITV's 'The Golden Shot', where you guided a blindfolded guy, [ Bernie the Bolt ], with a crossbow, over the phone, to hit a target for big prizes. After several lunatic wild shots hit various extremities of the set, Bob patiently explains off camera how to hit the bullseye, only to discover that the guy's tv had been repossessed a week earlier!
When Bob remonstates "Listen, Sir, you can't play this game without a ruddy television set!", the contestant explains: "I know that, Bob, I'm not stupid, you know Bob,... I'm in a phone box outside Rumbelow's Electrical shop, Bob, but all the sets in the window are tuned to the BBC!"

As to smoke alarms, a local thicko told me a few months ago that the regular 'beep' from his showed it was monitoring the house constantly , a "small price to pay for the security" ! Arggghhh! [Linked Image]


Wood work but can't!
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 354
kiwi Offline OP
Aussie240, what makes it mandatory in NSW to install smoke detectors in new houses ? Is it a building code or electrical regulation ? Do they have to be 230V or can you install battery ones ? I'm interested because NZ will probably follow suit, like we always do, a few years later.

Putting SDs in new houses is great........but it's the old existing houses that really need them. NZ is full of old wooden houses !

Nice one Alan. LOL @ that. Last week I worked in a house and pointed out to the mother that there were no smoke alarms. Mum looked embarrassed and said she would get one.

5 minutes later I heard a beeping noise coming from the laundry cupboard.

Turns out they had taken the beeping alarm with low battery down and stuffed it under the towels in the laundry cupboard so they didn't have to listen to it !

I made them dig it out and with a new battery out of my van we put it back up !

How about graphic warning stickers on smoke detectors warning of the danger like we have on cigarette packs. "WARNING : REMOVING THIS DETECTOR CAN RESULT IN A FIERY DEATH".

Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,432
Likes: 3
I'm not sure who said it first but:
Like chickens, people are stupid.
Some people don't know what is good for them until they are either burned out of thier houses or they (or thier loved ones) are dead or severely injured.
Quite regularly on the TV news over here, there will be some house fire survivor saying something to the effect of "Oh, we should have had (or maintained our) smoke alarms".
Hindsight is a funny thing isn't it, but a lot of people never get that luxury to reflect on such an incident.
The Building Act was amended here in 2003, to make it compulsory for all new houses to have smoke alarms fitted before the Code Compliance Certificate was signed and the house could be occupied.
Smoke alarms are now required in all new homes. The building code was amended in April 2003 to require that "appropriate means of detection and warning of fire must be provided within each household unit".
The new requirement does not apply to existing homes but the regulations will mandate the installation of smoke alarms when a building undergoes an alteration or change of use to become a home or when an alteration is made to an existing home that requires a building consent.
Your TA (Terretorial(sp?) Authority) is responsible for seeing that these alarms are installed in line with the Building Inspections that occur during construction or alterations.
Turns out they had taken the beeping alarm with low battery down and stuffed it under the towels in the laundry cupboard so they didn't have to listen to it !
I'd hate to think how many times I've seen this in houses either as a sparky or a FF.
I mean c'mon, you wouldn't take the windscreen wipers off you car because they get into your field of vision, would you?.
Once a smoke alarm starts beeping on low battery alarm, that is effectively a fail alarm, it will not detect smoke.
Finally, if you own a house and it catches fire and you have no smoke alarms installed, your Insurance policy (assuming you have it) should be made null and void, as you are not taking adequate care to protect the insured assets from damage.
Other side of the coin, people that have a fully functioning smoke alarm system, should pay a lower premium, to those that don't have one, just like burglar alarms.

Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 223
Brilliant one Alan [Linked Image]. Sadly it's all so believable.
Kiwi, it's a building code and both battery and hard wired mains detectors are acceptable.
something on the legislation here:

Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 354
kiwi Offline OP
Thanks for those links Aussie, I read them and it seems like NSW at least is doing the right thing. NZ will follow suit too no doubt. About time too ! !

Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 1,498
Likes: 1
C-H Offline
Some municipalities in Sweden have made smoke dectectors mandatory. Enforced? Only for rented homes.

Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 134
Here in Scotland mains powered smoke alarms have been mandatory in all new builds and alterations or extensions requiring Building Warrant since approx. 1992.

Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
Ditto for England & Wales. Detectors are mandatory under the Building Regs. for new houses and for major renovations, and must be mains-powered.

I can't see how mandatory detectors for all existing houses could ever be enforced without Nazi-like legislation which would grant some local bureaucrat the legal power to enter your property to check. And I think you know how I feel about local council bureaucrats! [Linked Image]

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