Now that winter is here, it’s timely for homeowners and tenants to make sure they have checked that smoke alarms are in good working order and reviewed insurance arrangements to assure their possessions are covered, in the event of a fire.
First National Real Estate chief executive, Ray Ellis said tenants often felt it wasn’t their responsibility to change the batteries in a smoke alarm or make sure it was working correctly.
However, with winter the worst season for house fires, Mr Ellis said it is timely for all households to do a quick double check.
‘If tenants have any concerns at all about the condition of smoke alarms in the property they rent, they should speak to their landlord or property manager,” Mr Ellis said.
‘By law, every residence in Australia is required to have at least one working smoke alarm located on each level of the home. If the alarms are battery operated, make sure they are working and change the batteries if necessary. If there are any problems get your landlord or agent onto it immediately.’
Mr Ellis said tenants should also make sure they had a sufficient level of contents insurance to cover their possessions in the event of a fire.
‘For many tenants and young people, contents insurance can seem like just one more expense they can’t afford,” Mr Ellis said.
‘But it anything happens, it’s an expense they’ll never regret. It’s critical that you have sufficient cover to be able to replace everyday items like clothes, children’s toys and furniture.’
Mr Ellis said property owners also had a responsibility to ensure fire safety, through regular maintenance checks on heating appliances, including keeping a chimney clean, and installing an adequate number of smoke alarms.
‘Our fire authorities persistently remind us about the importance of working smoke alarms and the dangers of the winter fire season,’ Mr Ellis said.
‘It’s critical to regularly check safety features, to protect the property and, more importantly, to save lives.’
Four out of five winter home fires start in kitchens, but electric blankets, clothes dryers, wood, gas and electric heaters are other common causes.
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