Fire safety & smoke alarms

Essential Fire Safety Measures are the life and fire safety systems that must be installed in commercial, industrial and public buildings to ensure the safety of occupants in the event of a fire or emergency, such as smoke detection and alarm systems, automatic fire sprinkler systems and exit signs. An Annual Fire Safety Statement must be lodged with Council to certify that all measures have been assessed, comply with the regulations and are operating effectively.

Changes to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 require a building owner to issue the Annual Fire Safety Statement in the form approved by the Secretary of the Department of Planning and Environment.  These forms can be found on both the Waverley Council website and on the website of NSW Planning & Environment.  The amending Regulation requires additional information to be recorded on the statement, including the name and contact details of the person issuing the statement and the competent fire safety practitioner/s who endorsed that statement together with a copy of the Fire Safety Schedule, obtainable from Council, which must be attached.  A copy must also be displayed in a prominent location in the building that it applies to, with a copy of the Fire Safety Schedule.

Smoke alarms

On 10 March 2006, the NSW Government gazetted new regulations requiring smoke alarms to be installed in existing buildings where people sleep. Smoke alarms are an effective early-warning device to alert people to the presence of fire so they have more time to escape.

In the past five years, 144 people have died in house fires in NSW, 60% of those during sleeping hours. An estimated 670,000 dwellings in NSW still do not have smoke alarms.

To help save lives, the Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Smoke Alarms) Regulation 2006 requires owners to install smoke alarms. The regulation outlines what types of buildings require alarms, the type of alarms required and where they are to be located.

It should also be noted that the Regulation does not override any other legal requirements regarding the installation of smoke alarms and systems. For example, it does not override a Fire Safety Order (current or future) issued by Council that may require higher standards to be met.

More information

The NSW Fire Brigades website also provides useful information, including the types of alarms available and their maintenance, as well as advice for landlords, tenants, the aged and people with hearing impairments.

Visit the NSW Planning & Environment for the latest information about NSW smoke alarm requirements.