Call for mandatory smoke alarms in mobile dwellings

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Coroner would like to see smoke alarms in all moveable dwellings. PIC: Brisbane Times

A Queensland coroner has called for the state’s fire service to consider the mandatory installation of smoke alarms in all moveable dwellings.

Deputy Coroner John Lock made the appeal during the inquest into the death of army veteran Lee Edward Parker, 47, in a caravan park blaze west of Brisbane. Mr Parker was killed when fire tore through a converted bus at the Atkinson Dam Caravan Park, near Lowood, in the early hours of August 19, 2016.

The Brisbane Times reports that, since 2017, all new and substantially renovated Queensland homes have been required to have photoelectric smoke alarms installed. This does not apply to caravans or vans in caravan parks.

In New South Wales, a 2011 law requires they be installed in all new and existing moveable dwellings.

As Mr Lock did not approach the relevant state government department about whether it supported such a legislative change, he did not make that recommendation.

The Brisbane Times reports that the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) was instead asked to consider the issue of mandatory smoke alarm installation.

“I accept there will be some cost implications for caravan park owners but this needs to be balanced with the important public safety implications that will result,” Mr Lock said.

The QFES currently recommends that there is at least one working photoelectric smoke alarm inside the van where the bed is, and one also in the annex if people sleep there.  It also suggests a fire extinguisher and fire blanket to be kept near an exit where they are easily accessible and where escape is also an option.

  • How fire safety conscious are you when on a trip? Comment below.

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2 Responses to Call for mandatory smoke alarms in mobile dwellings

  1. Yep good idea. Smoke alarm better than burnt caravan or worse

  2. I pulled out the two (2) original smoke detectors in our van because they would go off when cooking e.g. toast for breakfast and fitted infrared instead. No more alarms going off and annoying neighbours or ourselves. Just have to remember to change the batteries regularly. I have also put in a fire blanket as an extra precaution and back up to our fire extinguisher.

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