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Smoke alarms in caravans and campervans

Fact

Caravans and campervans have limited escape options in fire events. You have just a few seconds to get out of a burning caravan, because they are made of lightweight and highly combustible fittings and fires can take off frighteningly fast. So the warning a smoke alarm gives can mean the difference between life and death.

Under new NSW laws, from 25 Feb 2011, you must have a smoke alarm installed in all moveable dwellings including:

  • campervans
  • caravans
  • on-site vans
  • park vans
  • annexes (with rigid sides), and
  • any other type of transportable structure where people sleep (except tents and soft sided annexes).

This change to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation applies to all new, and existing moveable dwellings.

The law applies to any moveable dwellings in NSW being used for sleeping no matter where the dwelling stands, including in a caravan park, on private property, on Crown land or on the side of the road.

You must have at least one working smoke alarm inside the van where the bed is, and one also in the annex if you sleep there.

You can buy smoke alarms at most hardware stores, large supermarkets, electrical suppliers and a variety of retail stores.

The smoke alarm must meet Australian Standards 3786 (AS3786) however Fire & Rescue NSW recommends you install a photo-electric type smoke alarm that is powered by a 10 year, non-removeable, non-replaceable battery.

Penalties will apply after a six month grace period. This includes on the spot fines of $200, and up to $550 if the matter goes to court. Your smoke alarm must be fitted with a hush button. A hush button will desensitise the alarm for a short period during cooking to reduce false alarms.

Suitable installation locations

You must have at least one working smoke alarm inside the van where the bed is, and one also in the annex if you sleep there.

An image of the suitable locations where a smoke alarm should be installed within a caravan.

An image of the suitable locations where a smoke alarm should be installed within a caravan with an annexe.

Further information