Winter Fire Safety Tips

Winter Fire Safety Tips

With the winter period approaching, we thought it would be a good time to touch on some smoke alarm and fire safety. It’s important that as a tenant, you know what your responsibilities are in relation to smoke alarms and their maintenance during a tenancy.

Smoke alarms:

As of 1 July 2007, the Fire and Rescue Service Act 1990 has required that tenant/s clean and test all smoke alarms that are in their rental home. This must be done at least once during a twelve month tenancy. The cleaning and testing of alarms by tenants applies to tenancies of 12 months or longer, or if your tenancy is, or becomes a periodic tenancy of 12 months or longer. Smoke alarms will be tested within 30 days of starting a brand new tenancy agreement for a property and then annual thereafter.

If a tenancy is less than 12 months, the lessor is required to clean and test all alarms only if the tenancy is renewed. For example, you have a 6 month tenancy now, and an offer of renewal is provided in 6 months time and you accept, the lessor has to have all alarms cleaned and tested. If the tenancy renewal is not offered or renewed, it then reverts to a periodic tenancy. The lessor’s obligation does not extend to this situation.

What are my responsibilities as a tenant regarding smoke alarms?

It is also a requirement that tenants change the battery in any smoke alarm/s when it is flat, or almost flat. If you become aware that a smoke alarm has failed or is about to fail, other than because of a flat battery, please advise our agency immediately. If you are unable to fulfil your legislative duties personally, our agency can supply a list preferred contractors that can carry out the work for you at your expense. However if you prefer, you can appoint your own contractor. It is strongly recommended that you ensure that they carry adequate qualification (if required) and hold public liability insurance. For further information please refer to the RTA Form 17a – Renting a House or Unit in Queensland.

Also remember its important that:

You do not remove, dispose of, or otherwise tamper with to cease its effectiveness, the smoke alarms installed at the premises unless it is to clean or change the battery. You will ensure that all exits from the property are maintained as clearways so they can be safely and effectively used for escape in the event of a fire.

Below are some links and helpful tips from the QLD Fire and Emergency Services in relation to smoke alarms and an escape plan for your property. Let’s make sure we all stay fire smart and safe during this winter. And warm!

Is your home winter fire safe?

We recommend this simple safety checklist to help keep homes fire safe this winter. Make sure you and everyone in your household follows the following safety advice:

  • Most importantly, have an adequate number of suitable smoke alarms installed throughout your home and make sure that you test them regularly.
  • Make sure you and all your family know two safe ways out of every room in your home.
  • Have a written home escape plan in case of fire and practice it regularly.
  • Never ever leave cooking unattended.
  • If you have a fireplace in your home make sure the chimney is clean.
  • If you have a fireplace always place a screen in front of it when in use.
  • Check electric blankets for damage or frayed cords before placing on the bed.
  • Take care to keep curtains, tablecloths and bedding away from portable heaters.
  • Keep wet clothing at least 1 metre from heaters or fireplaces and never leave unattended.
  • If you use a clothes dryer make sure you clean the lint filter each and every time you use it.
  • Only use one appliance per power point and switch off when not in use.
  • Always extinguish candles or any other open flames before going to bed.
  • Always handle candles or any other open flame with care.
  • Store matches or lighters in a secure place not accessible to young children.

Winter Fire Safety Tips:

  • To test an electric blanket lay it flat on top of the bed, then switch it on for five minutes before putting it on the bed for use to confirm it is okay.
  • Use only authorised installers of fixed heating appliances.
  • Oil, gas or wood heating units may require a yearly maintenance check.
  • Only use fuses of recommended rating and install an electrical safety switch.
  • If possible, in the kitchen keep a fire extinguisher and fire blanket placed near the exit.
  • Never leave burning candles or any open flame unattended.

Remember, in an emergency call Triple Zero (000).


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