This festive season, property managers are being urged to ensure landlords know the dangers surrounding Christmas lights and accidental fires.
The warning, issued by Smoke Alarms Australia, comes after figures released last month revealed nearly two in three Australian homes contain smoke alarms that don't work.
Smoke Alarms Australia general manager Troy Thompson said their recent research has made it clear that there are misconceptions surrounding smoke alarm compliance.
“It’s critical that agents ensure their new and existing clients are equipped with the facts,” he said. “If landlords lack awareness of just one important area of compliance, they’re putting their tenants and the property at risk this Christmas.”
Mr Thompson busted a few fire safety myths, so PMs can help landlords and tenants be forewarned and forearmed over Christmas.
One myth he highlighted was that house fires are only a concern in winter. “Christmas is a time of fire risk, particularly when a large number of Christmas lights are used,” he said.
“At this time, electrical sockets and power boards could be overloaded as decorative lights are left on overnight or covered up by rugs. Candles, too, are often left burning for hours unattended.
“Many landlords ask us to check their smoke alarms before Christmas, due to these added fire risks.”
In the event there is a fire, residents must never go back in to a burning house to retrieve valuables. The smoke from fires clouds vision, makes breathing difficult, and leaves those affected in a confused state – reducing the chances of escaping safely.
“State fire services recommend that you never go back into a burning building once you leave it – with fires having the potential to get out of control within a minute, you’re unlikely to escape a second time,” Mr Thompson warned.
Another little known fact concerns the risks associated with landlords installing their own smoke alarms, he said.
“Landlords can [install their own alarms], but they should be aware that they carry the liability for incorrect installation, and it can be difficult to pass on the liability to an overseas product manufacturer for faults."