NSW Fire Brigades Commissioner warns residents to be vigilant about home fire safety

Published: 3rd January 2008

NSW Fire Brigades (NSWFB) Commissioner Greg Mullins today warned residents to be vigilant about home fire safety following dozens of small house fires across NSW since Christmas Day including eight major blazes where homes were severely damaged.

Commissioner Mullins said this spate of fires was a stark reminder for residents to protect themselves and their families.

"The fires attended by firefighters ranged from kitchen and electrical fires to bedroom fires and blazes where homes had been destroyed.  Many of the house fires attended by firefighters could have been prevented if residents had taken some simple and potentially life saving precautions.

"These simple tips will not only save your life they will help to prevent injuries such as smoke inhalation, cuts and minor burns to the hands arm and face all of which were suffered by several residents at these fires.

"I can't stress enough the importance of having smoke alarms however if they don't work or have a flat battery, they can't protect you, so make sure you check them regularly.

"Smoke alarms not only save lives but provide an early warning of a fire in the home.  Contrary to what people think, smoke does not wake you up but puts you into a deeper sleep," Commissioner Mullins said.

Commissioner Mullins said that with children on holidays, visitors at home and people cooking and barbecuing there was an increase in home fire risks, so it's important that people remember simple fire safety precautions.

"Every household should have and regularly practice a home escape plan and if you have family or friends staying with you make sure that they also know what to do in the event of fire.  If you have deadlocks installed make sure they can be opened from the inside without keys and leave your keys in the locks or nearby in case of an emergency.

"Ensure that lighters, matches, candles, incense and fragrant oils are out of reach of children, ensure that they are kept away from flammable materials, and make sure that they are extinguished before people leave the room, are going out or going to bed.

"If you do go away let your neighbours know so that if they hear your smoke alarm they know to call the Fire Brigade on Triple Zero (000).

"Turn all your appliances off at the wall and unplug them because electrical fires in household appliances are a common cause of house fires when people are away if there is a power surge or fault.  If you must leave lights connected to a timer switch to deter burglars, make sure that the lights cannot come into contact with flammable materials such as curtains.

"These fire safety tips are very simple and could save your life and the lives of your loved ones."