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DOC pauses fire alarms rollout after concerns raised by FMC

23 Feb 2024 1:55 PM | Anonymous

The Department of Conservation has announced that plans to roll out heat detectors (smoke alarms) to all backcountry huts with six or more bunks have been paused pending further work on legislative requirements, practicalities, costs, and user safety.

However it appears many of the huts have already had the alarms fitted!

FMC has been working closely with the Department on the matter and believes that under the Building Act 2004, the exemption for fire alarms in backcountry huts is still legally valid. FMC sees the proposed rollout as unnecessary and costly. It would have a negligible impact on safety and a negative impact on the “basic and wild” experience of those using the huts.

FMC was also concerned the Department had not consulted with affected stakeholders, including clubs and non-profit organisations that own huts and lodges on public conservation land.

“DOC has informed us over the weekend that they are putting a pause on the rollout while they do further work to ensure detectors are only installed in huts where they are legally required or will have a meaningful impact on hut user’s safety. FMC expects to be part of this work.” FMC President Megan Dimozantos said, “We commend the Department on their decision to pause the heat detector and smoke alarms rollout. It’s heartening to see DOC taking feedback from FMC on board and we look forward to working alongside the Department to ensure the longer-term plan has a commonsense approach and is in line with the relevant legislation.”

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