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Division 7 Miscellaneous fire safety offences

Division 7 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act in New South Wales, Australia covers a series of fire safety offences, primarily revolving around fire exits. Here's a breakdown:

Clause 183: Fire safety notices: Occupiers of premises that contain fire-isolated exits, including stairways, passageways, or ramps, are required to conspicuously display a notice adjacent to these exits. Failure to display the notice is an offence punishable with up to 100 penalty units. The notice should state that it is an offence to obstruct the exit, interfere with fire doors, or tamper with the notice itself.

Clause 184: Fire exits: This clause highlights offences related to impeding the free passage of individuals to fire exits, either by placing objects in the way, interfering with the operation of fire doors, or tampering with the fire safety notice. This offence is also punishable with up to 100 penalty units.

Clause 185: Doors relating to fire exits: It is an offence to interfere with, obstruct, or impede the operation of any door that serves as a fire exit or is located on the path to a fire exit. This clause also makes it an offence to obstruct any doorway serving as a fire exit or leading to it, with penalties of up to 100 penalty units.

Clause 186: Paths of travel to fire exits: The owner of a building must ensure that paths leading to fire exits, including stairways, passageways, and ramps, are kept clear. They must also ensure that doors serving as fire exits are not interfered with or obstructed, and that the notice required by clause 183 is displayed. Failure to comply with these requirements can result in a penalty of up to 100 penalty units.

The legislation aims to ensure that fire exits are always accessible and unobstructed, providing a safe and effective means of evacuation in the event of a fire. Non-compliance not only puts lives at risk but also carries significant penalties. It is part of the assessment of every Annual Fire Safety Statement as every building in NSW is required to comply with the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act.