Queenslanders are urged not to leave installing smoke alarms to the last minute in the lead up to new smoke alarm legislation said Michelle Malt spokes person for insurance provider Budget Direct.
Ms Malt said the new smoke alarm legislation being introduced from 1 July 2007 requires all houses and units in Queensland to install at least one 9-volt battery powered smoke alarm and said penalties for failing to install can be as much as $375.
Latest figures from Emergency Services Minister Pat Purcell show that 95% of Queensland house fires occurred in the winter months and nearly 80% of all fire deaths between 1997 and 2005 were in homes without smoke alarms.
These unfortunate events can occur when leaving heating appliances unattended or when combustible material like curtains and clothing are left too close. Children should also never be left alone with heaters and their toys should be nowhere near the heat source.
Ms Malt reminds the community that their insurers are available to assist them when making a claim, and are able to advise them how to process their claims quickly.
"Smoke alarms have been mandatory in all dwellings throughout Victoria and South Australia since 1999 and in NSW since May 2006. This new legislation is designed to self-guard Queenslanders and their dwellings, but it is up to people to take responsibility for their actions in and around the home," Ms Malt said.
For more detailed advice on fire alarms and safety around the home contact Queensland Fire and Rescue Service on www.fire.qld.gov.au or phone 1300 369 003.
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