Smoke alarms hot commodity
FIRE tragedies across NSW in the last two weeks have prompted an increase in purchases of smoke alarms in Murwillumbah.
And that's even in advance of the NSW
government's announcement this week that it would make alarms compulsory.
Yesterday morning Mitre 10 hardware in the heart of town sold out of of their least expensive smoke alarms, which had been selling at $10.95 and demand was continuing for others.
The most expensive were $47.50 models which need to be "hard-wired" into the mains electricity by an electrician.
Hardware assistant Julie Harper said not only had the alarms been selling well, but customers were also buying new batteries and making sure existing alarms worked.
Under the new laws proposed by the NSW government, all boarding houses, motels, hotels, hostels and homes, including rental properties, will have to be fitted with smoke alarms. But the government is yet to determine what penalties will be imposed on people who fail to install smoke alarms and it is unclear how it will be policed.
Premier Bob Carr says he hopes public education, rather than the threat of penalties, will encourage people to install smoke alarms. "Penalties are a last resort, public education is the first resort," he said.
NSW Fire Brigades Commissioner Greg Mullins said fire officers may soon begin doorknocking "blitzes" in residential areas to ensure homes are fitted with smoke alarms.
"We're talking about street blitzes, like we do during the bushfire season to raise awareness," he said.
Families should ensure they had fire evacuation plans and reduce the risk of fire by keeping clothes dryers free of lint and material away from heaters, he said.