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Fire deaths prompt urgent house fire warning

Published: 10th August 2012

Fire & Rescue NSW (FRNSW) Commissioner Greg Mullins has warned against complacency in home fire safety following a spate of house fires during the current cold snap, and two confirmed house fire deaths in the past week.

“Winter is the deadliest time of year for house fires and, tragically, we have seen that this week with fatal house fires at Goulburn, Blaxland and potentially at Cronulla where one person is still missing,” Commissioner Mullins said.

“Although investigators are yet to determine the cause of these fires, these deaths serve as a grim reminder for people to take action now to reduce their chances of becoming fire victims.

“More than 60 per cent of home fire deaths occur during the cooler months of May to September. We have seen more than 1200 home fires over that period so far this year, which have resulted in more than 160 injuries and 5 preventable fire deaths (this does not include last night’s tragedies).

“The leading causes of fatal home fires are heaters and electrical equipment/wiring (20 per cent), smoking materials (20 per cent) and matches or lighters (5 per cent). Unattended cooking is also a danger area.”

People can greatly reduce their risk of fire by identifying and changing risky behaviour and habits, including:

  • Turning off heaters before going to sleep
  • Keeping clothing and other flammable materials at least 1m from heaters and open fires
  • Turning off electric blankets before going to sleep
  • Not overloading power points and power boards
  • Not leaving cooking, and other open-flame materials such as cigarettes and candles, unattended.

To help identify potential risks in the home everybody is encouraged do a free FRNSW/GIO online home fire safety audit at www.homefiresafetyaudit.com.au