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Update on COVID-19- The safety of our communities, customers and staff is our top priority. We are continuing to monitor daily developments in response to COVID-19. Find out the latest.

Fire safety

This information is for all:

  • property owners
  • property managers
  • tenants
  • business operators who own, occupy or manage residential, commercial, retail or industrial buildings.

It aims to increase awareness of fire safety issues in both residential and commercial property and Council's role in improving building fire safety.

Smoke alarm FAQs

Under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, smoke alarms are compulsory in all:

  • residential homes
  • townhouses
  • units
  • apartments
  • flats
  • moveable dwellings
  • holiday vans
  • park van annexes
  • shared accommodation buildings

The legislation requires all NSW residents to have at  least one working smoke alarm on each level of the building.

All smoke alarms must comply with Australian standard AS3786-1993. To be compliant alarms need to be either:

  • hard-wired to the mains electricity power supply, or
  • battery powered

Battery operated smoke alarms

It is recommended you use:

  • 10 year lithium batteries - these will last as long as the smoke alarm.
  • Lead or alkaline batteries - these will need to be replaced each year.

The Smoke Alarm and Battery Replacement (SABRE) program assists seniors and people with a disability who are vulnerable in the case of a fire because they are not able to install and/or maintain their smoke alarms.

Eligible residents should contact their local fire station annually to get assistance.

Strobe lighting and vibrating pad smoke alarms are available for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. For more information visit  Fire & Rescue NSW.

Annual Fire Safety Statement FAQs

An Annual Fire Safety Statement declares that all fire safety measures on a premises are maintained to an appropriate standard and that all exit paths allow for the safe passage through the premise in the event of a fire.

Annual Fire Safety Statements are issued by, or on behalf of, the owner of the building.

If an essential fire safety measure is applicable to a building then the owner must submit an Annual Fire Safety Statement to Council and the NSW Fire Brigade.

Under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, owners of buildings (such as commercial or industrial premises) have a responsibility to ensure that all essential fire safety measure are in good working conditions at all times.

  • All essential fire safety measures are inspected by a qualified practitioner to ensure the measures are being maintained to the appropriate standard.
  • The Annual Fire Safety Statement is submitted to Council and the NSW Fire Brigade showing when all essential measures were checked.
  • Annual Fire Safety Statements are displayed in a clearly visible position and can be seen when officers inspect the premises.
  • All exit doors are kept in good working conditions.
  • All exit doors, corridors and others paths are kept clear of any obstructions.

A fire safety practitioner carries out an inspection for each fire safety measure. The owner selects the practitioner who will carry out the assessment.

NSW Planning gives advice on selecting a fire safety practitioner.

The fire safety practitioner who carries out the assessment must inspect and verify the performance of each fire safety measure.

Note: Council and the NSW Fire Brigade only require the completed Annual Fire Safety Statement. Any other paperwork provided by the fire safety practitioner is for the owner and does not need to be lodged. It is important that records of these inspections are kept by the owner.

Complete all sections of the Annual Fire Safety Statement providing dates where required.

This Annual Fire Safety Statement needs to address each essential fire safety measure in the building. The statement must be lodged annually and within three months from the date of inspection.

The Annual Fire Safety Statement needs to be lodged at Council along with the lodgement fee.

Fire safety is important. Under current legislation, building owners are required to lodge an Annual Fire Safety Statement annually regardless if the building is tenanted or not.

The following penalties can apply:

  • Failure to provide an Annual/Supplementary Fire Safety Statement: $500.00 - $2,000.00
  • Failure to maintain essential Fire Safety Measures: $1,500


  • If the statement is not correctly completed you will be required to submitted a corrected statement.
  • If a fine is issued, it will not excuse you from needing to submit a statement.

Owners should also consider the following:

  • Insurance may be compromised in the case of a fire.
  • Unoccupied buildings are required to have annual fire services checked and a statement submitted as they can still pose a significant fire safety risk.


Port Stephens Council