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Install smoke alarms before 1 November deadline

Published: 4th October 2006

NSW Fire Brigades (NSWFB) Commissioner Greg Mullins today reminded NSW building owners that time is running out to install smoke alarms.

Commissioner Mullins said that from 1 November 2006, it would be an offence not to have smoke alarms in all homes and other shared accommodation buildings where people sleep.

"The six-month grace period for owners of homes and shared accommodation buildings to install smoke alarms has almost run out, so by now most people should be protected by these life-saving devices," he said.

"Anybody who has still not installed smoke alarms is gambling with the lives of family members and tenants.

"There is no excuse for any further delay. If you’re unsure how many smoke alarms you need or where to install them, contact the Smoke Alarm Helpline on 1300 858 812 or visit the NSWFB web site www.fire.nsw.gov.au"

Commissioner Mullins said that during the winter months this year, the NSWFB attended many home fires where smoke alarms had saved lives, providing early warning of the danger.

"If you are asleep at the time of the fire, the smoke, which is full of toxic gases, may numb your senses and put you into a deeper sleep. The high-pitched sound of smoke alarms is designed to wake people and give them time to put their escape plan into action."

Commissioner Mullins said the NSWFB had placed advertisements in major metropolitan, regional, suburban and ethnic newspapers to ensure property owners were aware of their obligations in relation to smoke alarm installation.

"A television community service announcement will also be sent to television networks to reinforce the need for smoke alarms to alert people to a fire and the fact that it is law to install them."

The new laws, introduced in May 2006, require smoke alarms to be installed in all homes and buildings where people sleep, including houses, apartments, and hostels. A maximum penalty of $550 will apply from 1 November 2006. It is also an offence to interfere with or remove a smoke alarm unless for the purpose of maintenance or replacement.

Smoke Alarm requirements for homes under the legislation

  • The legislation requires each home to have at least one working smoke alarm.
  • An alarm must be placed in an area between sleeping and living areas, such as a hallway leading to bedrooms.
  • At least one smoke alarm is also required on each level of a multi-storey home.
  • Alarms that meet Australian Standard 3786 must be used when installing smoke alarms, however, if you have previously installed smoke alarms that do not comply with AS3786, they will be deemed to comply (providing that they are working and in the correct location) until the alarm is removed or ceases to function.

For more information, contact the State Government's Smoke Alarm help line on 1300 858 812, your local NSWFB fire station or visit the smoke alarm information on our website.