Firies urge winter safety

By Robert Muir

This winter Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) is urging residents to take every precaution to avoid a fire in the home. 

FRNSW Captain Vin Slattery said the cooler months see a 10% increase in the number of home fires, with more fires in bedrooms and loungerooms due to heaters, electric blankets and the like.

“Don’t put yourself or your family at risk,” he said. “We want to remind people to be careful when using heaters and to keep everything in the house ‘a metre from the heater’.”

Other simple steps you can take to prepare your home against the risk of fire this winter are:

Turn off heaters and electric blankets before leaving home or getting into bed

Clean lint filters in the clothes dryer before or after each use

Don’t overload powerboards

Keep candles away from the curtains and put them out before leaving the room

Don’t use LPG cylinders for cooking or heating indoors as they can leak and the gas is both toxic and highly explosive

Ensure you have a working smoke alarm.

Vin said residents should also ‘keep looking when cooking’ to avoid kitchen fire catastrophes.

“Kitchen fires account for 45 per cent of all residential fires and 34 per cent of injuries in NSW,” he said. “Flames or heat sources being left unattended are the most common causes contributing to kitchen fires. It can take just three minutes for a fire to take hold, but only seconds to prevent one.”

FRNSW recommends the following simple safety checklist for home cooks:

Never leave cooking unattended. If you leave the kitchen, turn off the stove

Don’t put anything metallic in the microwave

Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children

Don’t cook under the influence of alcohol or drugs

Turn pot handles inwards to avoid being knocked or grabbed by children

Keep your oven and rangehood clean. Excess grease and fat can ignite a fire.

If you pan catches fire, don’t throw water on it – GET OUT, STAY OUT AND CALL TRIPLE ZERO 000.

Captain Vin said if you remember these simple rules, you’ll be on your way to having a safe, fire-free winter.

Anyone with any old cars they no longer require and which could be used for fire-related training purposes is asked to contact Captain Vin on 0409 213744.