Chilling spate of winter home fires

Published: 16th July 2015

A spate of fires in homes over the past week and another forecast cold snap over coming days has prompted Fire & Rescue NSW (FRNSW) to warn NSW residents to take every precaution to avoid a fire in the home.

Firefighters have been called to more than 70 home fires since the weekend when temperatures started to drop.

Acting FRNSW Commissioner Jim Smith said people needed to take the risk of a fire breaking out in their home seriously.

“Since the recent spate of cold weather across NSW, FRNSW has attended numerous fires and concerns for welfare resulting from the increased use of heaters, electric blankets, and improper use of unsafe heating methods,” Acting Commissioner Smith said.

“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. Only last weekend a man tragically died in a unit fire at Hamilton South.”

“I appeal to families not to put themselves or their families at risk. Keep looking when cooking and do not leave heaters, dryers, electric blankets, or any other electrical device unattended. Always turn them off when leaving home or going to bed. Also remember to check the electrical cords for fraying and other damage.”

Firefighters also want you to remember that outdoor heating and cooking appliances must not be brought indoors. This includes appliances that use ‘heat beads’ or LPG as a fuel source.

More firefighter home fire safety tips:

• Keep clothing and other flammable materials at least one metre from your heater
• Clean out the clothes dryer filter after every load
• Don't overload your powerboards
• Never use wheat bags in bed
• Ensure you have a working smoke alarm and a practised home escape plan
• If a fire does occur, get out, stay out and call Triple Zero (000)