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Emergency exits still required in Lion pubs


Emergency exits still required in Lion pubs

August 10, 2006

The Fire Service has a simple message for licensed premises considering tightening access to pokie machines: fire safety is still the number one priority.

Last week the Gambling Commission released a ruling telling 11 Lion Foundation taverns around New Zealand they had to prevent people from accessing pokie machines directly from the street, as opposed to through the bar.

Three of the affected bars are in Dunedin, and Southern Fire Region fire safety officer Barry Gibson is concerned that bar owners will take the ruling to mean that they have to lock legitimate fire exits.

“We need to be very clear: All commercial premises must provide proper fire exits for an emergency. If that means that some of these bars have to keep external doors unlocked while pokies are in operation, then that’s what has to happen.

“This is a requirement of the Building Act 1991, which is administered by the local authorities.”

The Gambling Commission’s ruling allowed for these exits to remain unlocked for “fire, health and safety regulations specific to the venue”, meaning bars would not come into conflict with the commission if they needed to keep street entrances to pokies accessible if that was the most practical fire exit as well.

ENDS

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