Emergency Services Minister urges winter home fire safety action

Published: 17th July 2010

Emergency Services Minister Steve Whan has issued an urgent warning to remind householders about winter fire safety following a recent spate of residential fires across NSW.

NSW Fire Brigades has attended more than 500 residential fires this winter, including more than 50 in the past few days. Tragically, five people have died in NSW house fires this winter.

Of the house fires this week, at least 25 started in the kitchen, six in the bedroom and at least four involved heaters. Of the kitchen fires, at least 11 of these resulted from cooking left unattended.

Mr Whan said all families should review their household fire safety this weekend, check their smoke alarms and practise their home escape plan.

"Winter is traditionally the most dangerous time of year for home fires and it is important that residents remain alert to the risk of fire," he said.

"Statistics show half of recent house fires started in the kitchen and most of those are from unattended cooking.

"We urge householder to exercise caution and employ safe practices in their home."

NSWFB Commissioner Greg Mullins said in the event of a home fire residents should get out quickly, call Triple Zero (000) and wait for the Fire Brigade.

"With the cold weather continuing, it is important people take simple steps to reduce fire risks to avoid any tragic loss of life or property," he said.

NSWFB winter safety tips include

  • Ensure you have working smoke alarms on every level of the home.

  • Switch off the stove before leaving the kitchen and never leave cooking unattended.

  • Portable heaters need to be at least one metre away from flammable materials such as curtains, clothing and bedding and switch it off when going to bed.

  • Check power points aren't overloaded.

  • Check electric blankets for faults.

  • Clean the lint filter in the clothes dryer each time before use.
For more information on winter fire safety visit www.3minutes.com.au