Smoke Alarms

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.
Russ Porteous
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.