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Help Seniors Reduce Fire Risks

Published: 7th August 2010

Emergency Services Minister Steve Whan today urged the community to help ensure seniors have adequate home fire safety precautions in place.

Mr Whan made the call following the death of a man in his 80s in an Ashfield house fire on Thursday - the second fire fatality involving an elderly person in recent weeks.

"NSW Fire Brigades (NSWFB) have attended two separate fires at the homes of elderly residents in Ashfield in the past 24 hours," Mr Whan said.

"Tragically, an elderly man died from smoke inhalation following a fire in Charlotte St on Thursday afternoon and firefighters rescued a man in his 70s from a house fire in Hugh St, Ashfield.

"In addition, last month, a woman aged in her 70s died from smoke inhalation following a fire in her East Maitland home.

"It is a tragic fact our elderly residents are among the most vulnerable when it comes to house fires," Mr Whan said.

"If you have elderly neighbours, friends or relatives I urge you to check on them to ensure their homes have working smoke alarms and other essential fire safety measures in place."

NSWFB Commissioner Greg Mullins said there had been eight house fire fatalities in NSW so far this winter.

"A working smoke alarm, together with a home escape plan, could greatly increase the chances of escaping a fire in the home," he said.

"Practising this plan is especially important for those with reduced mobility, such as the elderly.

"I would strongly encourage people to sit down with their elderly friends, neighbours and family members and go through the NSWFB and GIO’s new free, online Home Safety Audit (homefiresafetyaudit.com.au) to identify and take action against fire risks in the home."

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