Senior firefighter Mark Whiticker explains new laws relating to smoke alarms in caravans to Carolyn Turney and Stephen.
Senior firefighter Mark Whiticker explains new laws relating to smoke alarms in caravans to Carolyn Turney and Stephen. Craig Sadler

Smoke alarms mandatory in caravans

TWEED holidaymakers can sleep safely knowing smoke alarms are now compulsory in caravans, campervans and other moveable dwellings where people sleep.

The regulation change also applies to holiday vans, park van annexes and associated structures, but not camping tents.

Caravans and campervans typically have limited escape options in the event of a fire, along with lightweight and combustible fittings, so a smoke alarm can mean the difference between life and death.

New South Wales firefighters have attended more than 692 blazes involving moveable accommodation vehicles over the past 10 years. These fires have resulted in 12 deaths and 72 injuries.

In NSW alone, about 40,000 people live in moveable dwellings on a permanent basis, while tens of thousands are used for short-term holidays.

Tweed Heads Fire Station officer Steve Sharp said owners of caravans and mobile homes would have six months to install a smoke alarm before facing on-the-spot fines of up to $200.

“The fine will rise to $550 if the matter proceeds to court. It's important to have smoke alarms installed because when you sleep you lose your sense of smell and you need the fire alarm to wake up,” Mr Sharp said.

Owners of moveable dwellings (as distinct from the tenant or the owner of the land where the dwelling is based) will be responsible for installing and maintaining alarms.



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