Be fire-safe, not sorry this winter

To mark the start of Fire Awareness Month, Fire and Rescue NSW and the NSW Rural Fire Service are reminding households to ‘be safe, not sorry’ this winter by taking precautions to guard against house fires.

3 June 2022

 

MINISTER for Emergency Services and Resilience and Minister for Flood Recovery Steph Cooke said it can take as little as three minutes for a fire to take hold in a home.

 

“Every winter we see a spike in house fires which could have tragic and even fatal consequences,” Ms Cooke said.

 

“Around 20 people lose their lives in house fires every year that could have been prevented, with many more sustaining life-changing injuries.

 

“I am encouraging households across NSW to take simple precautions like making sure smoke alarms are working, keeping objects a metre from the heater, not leaving cooking unattended and not using outdoor heating equipment inside.”

 

Last year, Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) attended 953 residential house fires between 1 June and 31 August, which is roughly one third of reported home fires annually.

 

FRNSW Commissioner Paul Baxter said firefighters are committed to reducing the risk of home fires and to protecting the irreplaceable.

 

“The best way to stay out of harm this winter is to take measures to prevent a fire from occurring in the first instance. It is vitally important for people to have a working smoke alarm in their home and to test it regularly,” Commissioner Baxter said.

 

FRNSW’s suggested safety measures include:

 

  • Check and maintain smoke alarms;

 

  • Keep any drying clothes or anything flammable at least a metre from the heater;

 

  • Clean and maintain any fireplaces;

 

  • Do not use outdoor heating or cooking equipment inside your home;

 

  • Check electric blankets are safe for use and never go to bed with your electric blanket on;

 

  • Do not overheat wheat bags in the microwave;

 

  • Do not overload power boards;

 

  • Clean the lint filter from your clothes dryer after each use;

 

  • Never leave cooking unattended;

 

  • Always use candles under adult supervision and do not leave them unattended; and

 

  • Ensure you have a ‘home fire escape plan” and practice it regularly with your family.

 

In the 2021 calendar year, there were:

 

  • A total of 3,502 residential house fires; and

 

  • 17 lives lost.

 

In the winter months of 2021, there were:

 

  • 953 residential fires, resulting in 83 injuries;

 

  • 359 kitchen fires, resulting in 35 injuries;

 

  • 98 bedroom fires, resulting in 20 injuries;

 

  • 81 chimney/fireplace emergencies; and

 

  • 69 lounge room fires, resulting in seven injuries.

 

So far in 2022:

 

  • FRNSW has attended 1,226 residential house fires; and

 

  • Two lives have been lost.

 

For a Get Ready for Winter checklist, visit: www.fire.nsw.gov.au/winter.

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