Residents urged to be vigilant about home fire safety

Published: 27th March 2020

Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) is encouraging residents across the state to be vigilant about home fire safety as people begin to work from their homes in the wake of the COVID19 pandemic.

FRNSW crews attended two house fires in the Sydney area yesterday, with one in Alexandria not having working smoke alarms. At another in West Pennant Hills last week, six people were lucky to escape after their neighbour alerted them to a fire as there were no working smoke alarms.

In March there have been 163 house fires in NSW, one in five having no working smoke alarms, causing 14 injuries. 38 per cent were caused by leaving cooking unattended, causing six injuries.

FRNSW Commissioner Paul Baxter said that residents should be extra vigilant about home fire safety following the current isolation measures put in place by the Australian Government.

“As more people begin to work from home and now that we are moving into the colder months of the year, it is even more important that residents be conscious about home fire safety,” Commissioner Baxter said.

“Those undergoing self-isolation will need to pay particular care to home fire safety and not be complacent about checking that smoke alarms are in full working order.

“We continue to work hard to protect the safety of our workers and the community during this pandemic, so we ask that the community take extra care in their homes during this time.

“It is also very important that when making an emergency Triple Zero (000) call, people inform the operator if they have been diagnosed with COVID19 or are self-isolating so that we can take the necessary safety precautions to protect you and our emergency workers.

“We assure the community that the current situation will not impact our frontline emergency response and that we remain prepared for anything at any time,” Commissioner Baxter said.

FRNSW has provided the following tips for fire safety in the home:

  • Smoke alarms double the chance of survival – regularly check your alarm is working.
  • Keep looking when cooking - do not leave cooking unattended at any time.
  • Make sure you keep candles, oil/incense burners and heaters away from flammable items.
  • NEVER use outdoor heaters, barbecues or charcoal pits inside your home due to risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Don’t overload powerpoints and powerboards.
  • Check electric blankets to ensure they are not faulty.