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More changes could be in the works for fire alarms, safety

16 August 2019 Reporter

Checks and balances for fire safety could be stepped up in NSW, in light of the 21 deaths reported each year as a result of fires in residential premises.

As property managers are well aware, in states like NSW, smoke alarms need to be tested for functionality once a year under state law.

Fire and Rescue NSW has recently pushed for more fire safety provisions to be mandated in residential lots, to reduce the hazards and deaths caused by fires in residential properties.

As the Real Estate Institute of NSW explains, according to the law that came into effect in 2006, smoke alarms must meet the requirements of the Australian Standard AS 3786. The alarms must be placed in hallways near bedrooms and there must be an alarm on all levels of the home.

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Fire and Rescue NSW commissioner Paul Baxter believes there should be one alarm in each bedroom and in the living area.

“On average, there are approximately 21 deaths reported each year as a direct result of residential fires across NSW,” he said.

“Up to a half of those fatalities could have been prevented if these homes had working smoke alarms as well as a home fire escape plan. Additionally, the interconnection of multiple alarms ensures that if one alarm detects smoke, all other alarms will activate to sound a warning.”

Together with the Fire Protection Association Australia and the Australasian Fire Authorities Council, Fire and Rescue NSW has submitted a Proposal for Change to the 2019 National Construction Code.

The proposal is also requesting mandated sprinklers in all new apartments up to 25 metres high, in addition to more and interconnected smoke alarms.

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More changes could be in the works for fire alarms, safety
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