What is a Smoke Alarm?

A smoke alarm is a is an apparatus for the detection of airborne particulates (smoke) as a byproduct of combustion (fire) that incorporates an integrated alarm sounder. A smoke alarm may be stand alone, or interconnected with other fire detectors to alert the occupants of a building in the event of a fire. A smoke alarm is designed to Australian Standard AS 3786.

CEO, Firewize
19 Jan, 2021
Photoelectric Smoke Alarm

Australian Standard AS 3786 defines two types of smoke alarm;

  • Type A - a smoke alarm that does not contain radioactive materials; and
  • Type B - a smoke alarm that contains radioactive materials.

The definition of a "Smoke Alarm is a device containing within one housing all the components, except possibly the power source, necessary for detecting smoke and generating an alarm condition.1

Given the definition of a smoke alarm, we can determine the required (defining) features of a smoke alarm as follows;

  • a device containing within one housing;
    • a chamber to sense airborne particulates (smoke) as a byproduct of combustion (fire);
    • an audible condition indicator;
    • a test facility;
    • a mains power source (internal or external);
    • a standby power source;
    • an integrated method to protect the ingress of foreign bodies;
    • markings required and set out in the Standard.

These requirements differ significantly from a smoke detector which is a device designed to comply with a different Australian Standard being AS 7240.7:2018 or its predecessor AS1603.2-1997.

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This guide is provided solely on the basis that users will be responsible for making their own assessment of the matters discussed herein and are advised to verify all relevant representations, statements and information. Firewize does not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on the information.