26 September 2023

Fatal fires lead to urgent winter preparation

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Two fatal fires over the weekend have prompted Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) to issue an urgent call for residents, landlords and tenants across the State to make sure they have a working smoke alarms installed.

FRNSW Acting Deputy Commissioner Trent Curtin said the death toll from house fires this winter was now more than double that of last year’s season.

A/Deputy Commissioner Curtin said it was the responsibility of landlords to ensure there were working smoke alarms in rental properties.

“It’s the law for all properties to have at least one working smoke alarm installed on every level of the home,” A’Deputy Commissioner Curtin said.

“Landlords are responsible for the installation of smoke alarms in rented premises,” he said.

“After the tenancy begins, the tenant is responsible for replacing the battery, if needed, in battery-operated smoke alarms.

“Landlords must replace the batteries in a hard-wired smoke alarm.”

A/Deputy Commissioner Curtin urged people living in rental properties to test their smoke alarms to make sure they were in good working order.

“If there’s no smoke alarm or it’s faulty, contact your landlord immediately,” he said.

“It may just save your life and that of your loved ones.”

He said that since 1 June, FRNSW had attended 373 house fires across NSW.

“Of these, 44 per cent did not have working smoke alarms, while a further 20 per cent did not a have smoke alarm installed,” the A/Deputy Commissioner said.

Backing the call, Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience, Steph Cooke said the risk of death in a house fire was significantly reduced if working smoke alarms were installed.

“Since the start of June, we’ve lost nine people in house fires across the State, which is more than double the entire 2021 winter death toll of four,” Ms Cooke said.

“Fire can engulf a home in a matter of minutes and while smoke won’t wake you up, a smoke alarm will, which could be the difference between life and death.”

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