2011 Fire Prevention Week begins

Published: 30th April 2011

Families are being encouraged to complete an online "home fire safety audit" as part of Fire Prevention Week this year.

Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) is launching Fire Prevention Week on Sunday 1 May to help raise fire safety awareness and reduce the number of home fires and fire injuries as the winter months approach.

Commissioner Greg Mullins said: "Winter is traditionally the worst time of year for fires in homes as people start to use heaters and other electrical appliances more.

"To help people prevent fires, we are urging families to prepare by using our home fire safety audit, which a simple online assessment tool. The audit gives a rating and tips about how to prevent or prepare for fires."

Key elements of Fire Prevention Week include:
  • A GIO sponsored television commercial highlighting the dangers of fire through "Linda's story".
  • The audit tool, located at www.homefiresafetyaudit.com.au and jointly created by FRNSW and GIO, only takes a short time to complete and provides an assessment of a home's fire preparedness and what actions can be taken to reduce fire danger.
  • An updated Brigade Kids website www.brigadekids.com - a community initiative between FRNSW and McDonald's to help educate children in a fun way and make NSW families safer through greater fire safety awareness.
  • Brigade Kids Day on Sunday 1 May - families will have the chance to meet firefighters who will be visiting selected McDonald's restaurants to share fire safety information and display fire engines and equipment.
  • Fire Stations Open Day on Saturday 7 May from 10am to 2pm when FRNSW stations will be open to the public. A range of activities will be available including displays of fire engines, firefighting equipment, kitchen fire simulations, kids activities as well as free show bags containing fire safety information. Find your local fire station here.
  • Throughout Fire Prevention Week, firefighters will be taking the fire safety message directly into the community, attending various community meetings and events with an emphasis on reducing the risk of fire to those most at risk.
Commissioner Mullins said that although the number of home fires had been declining in recent years, there was always more work that can be done to reduce the number of fires, injuries and fatalities.

Latest statistics for residential fires attended by FRNSW in calendar years

              Residential fire       Winter %        Injuries            Fatalities   
2010          4,393                       28.2%           558                    25   

2009          4,553                      28.8%            630                    18   

2008          4,495                       31%              629                    22   

"As part of Fire Prevention Week, we make a concentrated effort to encourage people to take responsibility for their own safety by eliminating fire risks in the home, and the home fire safety audit is an excellent place to start," Commissioner Mullins said.

"A fire can take hold in just three minutes, but it only takes moments to prevent one, like changing the batteries of your smoke alarm and planning ahead by using our home fire safety audit."

Speaking in support of FRNSW and Fire Prevention Week, Grant Taylor, Executive Manager GIO, said: "As a major community partner of FRNSW, GIO is proud to support Fire Prevention Week, and all efforts to raise fire safety awareness across NSW. Our recent joint venture in creating the Home Fire Safety Audit has already armed many NSW residents with the information they need to minimise fire risks around the home and we look forward to this week’s activities helping NSW households improve their fire safety behaviour further."

Things to do to prevent fires include:
  • Completing the home fire safety audit at www.homefiresafetyaudit.com.au.
  • Draw up and practice a home escape plan: if possible have two ways out of every room, ensure windows and doors can be easily opened from the inside and if keys are required they are located in the locks or are easily accessible even when the room is full of smoke.
  • Making sure photoelectric smoke alarms are installed and working.
  • Never leave cooking or open flames including candles and oil burners unattended.
  • Never overload power points.

Media resources such as case studies, video and audio grabs are available by emailing: Stuart.Snell@fire.nsw.gov.au