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Rural residents, visitors urged to be fire safe

Published: 14th July 2010

Emergency Services Minister Steve Whan has urged people living and holidaying in rural and remote areas of the State to be vigilant about winter fire safety.

"Winter is traditionally the most dangerous time of year for home fires and it is important that visitors and holidaymakers, as well as residents, remain alert to the risk of fire," Mr Whan said.

"So far this winter the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) and NSW Fire Brigades (NSWFB) have attended almost 500 home fires in NSW and five people have tragically lost their lives.

"The emergency services may need to travel a considerable distance in remote areas, so it is vital that people in rural and isolated locations are conscious of the need to take fire safety precautions.

"It is vital that people living and holidaying in these areas, particularly during the current school holidays, take simple fire safety steps such as ensuring they have working smoke alarms and evacuation plans."

RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons stressed the need for residents and visiting holidaymakers to have an effective evacuation plan.

"Whether you’re at home or on holidays staying in a motel, bed and breakfast, guesthouse or cottage, you should know how to escape in the event of a fire and where to go once you’re out," he said.

"Families should discuss this plan with their children so everyone knows what to do. If you are in an isolated location, it is even more important that you can escape the fire quickly and stay safe until the emergency services arrive."

NSWFB Commissioner Greg Mullins said a home fire could take hold in just three minutes but simple fire safety measures, at home or on holidays, took just a few seconds.

"Switch off the stove before leaving the kitchen and never leave cooking or naked flames such as candles unattended. Move the heater away from flammable materials and switch it off when going to bed," he said.

"In the event of a fire, you should get out, call Triple Zero (000) and wait for the emergency services to arrive."

For more winter fire safety information, go to www.3minutes.com.au