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Don’t Let The Winter Chills Threaten Your Family This Winter!

Would you be surprised to know that 87% of NSW households are not compliant with Australian fire services recommendations?

A recent report from Fire & Rescue NSW (FRNSW) has stated;    

NSW residents are still placing their homes at great risk of fire with only 13 per cent of NSW family households admitting to meeting Australia’s fire and emergency services’ guidelines, according to new research.

Only 13 per cent of NSW households surveyed are testing their smoke alarms monthly with only 34% per cent changing their smoke alarm batteries annually. Research also revealed one in three family households had disconnected their smoke alarm to stop a “false” alarm, rendering the unit useless and putting families at risk.

“Australia’s fire and emergency services attended more than 13,000 home fires around the country in 2012. Most of these were caused by faulty electrical equipment or leaving cooking unattended,” said Superintendent Tom Cooper, Fire & Rescue NSW (FRNSW).

More recently (07/07/2014) the FRNSW reported;

A spate of fires in homes has prompted Fire & Rescue NSW (FRNSW) to warn NSW residents not to leave fire safety to chance this winter and to take every precaution to avoid a fire in the home.

Firefighters were called to nearly 30 home fires at the weekend and have attended more than 330 since the beginning of winter (1 June).

FRNSW Commissioner Greg Mullins said that on average, firefighters attend 102 house fires a week during the winter months and so far this winter, more than half of all home fires started in the kitchen.

“People need to take the risk of a fire breaking out in their home seriously.

“Many people don’t realise that winter is the worst time of the year for home fires.

“Home fires in the cooler months are often far more serious and are more likely to result in injuries and deaths.

“Complacency is the biggest killer. I appeal to families not to leave home fire safety to chance. Do not leave cooking unattended. Turn off heaters and electrical appliances before you go to sleep and keep flammable materials and clothing at least 1 metre away from heaters and open fires.

“The best way to keep your family out of harm’s way and to identify potential risks is by making sure you have working smoke alarms and a practised home escape plan”.

People can greatly reduce their risk of fire by identifying and changing risky behaviours and habits, including:

  • Never leaving cooking, open fires, smoking materials and candles unattended.
  • Keeping clothing and other flammable materials at least 1m from heaters and open fires.
  • Turning off heaters before going to sleep.
  • Turning off electric blankets before going to sleep.
  • Cleaning the lint filter in clothes dryers after each load.
  • Not overloading power points and power boards.

 Additional safety suggestions;

  • Have a written escape plan in case of fire and practice it. (See sample below)
  • Ensure you make allowances for the young, old and the less mobile.
  • Do not leave candles or oil burners to burn whilst sleeping or unattended.
  • Do not leave electric blankets on when not in use.
  • Do not smoke in bed.

  Finally a recent report from the Daily Liberal;

DUBBO: A smoke alarm may have saved the life of a Dubbo resident whose house caught fire in the early hours of Monday morning.

Emergency services were called to Shire Avenue in West Dubbo about 3am following reports the residence was alight.

The only occupant, a man, was woken by the smoke alarm and managed to get out of the house before firefighters arrived.

Two trucks from Dubbo Fire Station and one from Delroy Fire Station took about half an hour to put out the blaze and remained at the scene for about two hours to make sure it was completely extinguished.

“Firefighters were able to contain the fire to the hall and a bedroom, despite heavy smoke and extreme heat,” Dubbo Fire and Rescue Station Officer Mick Medlin said.

“If they had not got there so quick, it is quite likely the fire would have spread through the remainder of the house.

“As it was, there was smoke damage through the house.”

An investigation was under way into the cause of the fire, however early indications suggested it started from a small heater in a bedroom that set alight clothing near a bed.

“Once again this is a clear instance of why working smoke alarms are vital, in this case alerting the occupant to a fire and helping to prevent injury,” Station Officer Medlin said.

“It’s a timely reminder to take care when using heaters and electric blankets in winter and to have an escape plan ready in case of a fire.”

It is clear that risk of fire is high and most of us need to be more focused on minimising this threat to our family and property. Insurance is available to protect your property against fire and we welcome any enquiry to discuss the various policy options. You can contact us on dubbo@abris.com.au or 1800 AUSTBROKERS (1800 287 827)

A free online home fire safety check in available on the Fire & Rescue NSW web site: www.homefiresafetyaudit.com.au                    

Also please remember brick houses burn as easily as timber houses!


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