Smoke alram alert

By SALLY GORDON

sally.gordon@dailyexaminer.com.au

FROM today all NSW residents must have at least one working smoke alarm installed on each level of their homes.

Under the Building Legislation Amendment (Smoke Alarms) Act 2005, all owner- occupied, rental properties, relocatable homes or any other residential building where people sleep must have an alarm.

If building owners do not comply a maximum fine of $550 will be issued, although a six-month moratorium is in place that provides a window of time for owners to install smoke alarms without penalty.

Under the new legislation landlords will be responsible for supplying and installing smoke alarms. They also will be required to install a new battery for each smoke alarm at the beginning of each new tenancy.

Todd Campbell, manager of Yamba's Total Work Safety Solutions, said smoke alarms would be most effective if they were installed near bedrooms, in hallways or in kitchens.

Mr Campbell lauded the safety benefits that would come but said home owners should be wary of how and if the laws would affect their home insurance policies.

He said non-compliance with the legislation could leave homeowners uninsured in the event of a fire.

The concern has been raised by a number of Clarence Valley businesses.

Local insurance companies, however, say they have not been advised of any changes to insurance policies.

"We haven't received anything to advise us of this legislation, to even say to our clients when they're insuring their homes, that they must have a smoke alarm," a well known Grafton-based insurer said.



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