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Winter fire safety warning after spate of home fires

Published: 7th July 2014

A spate of fires in homes has prompted Fire & Rescue NSW (FRNSW) to warn NSW residents not to leave fire safety to chance this winter and to take every precaution to avoid a fire in the home.

Firefighters were called to nearly 30 home fires at the weekend and have attended more than 330 since the beginning of winter (1 June).

FRNSW Commissioner Greg Mullins said that on average, firefighters attend 102 house fires a week during the winter months and so far this winter, more than half of all home fires started in the kitchen.

"At the weekend a Niagara Park a family was lucky to escape when their house erupted into flames and their smoke alarm was not working. At Badgerys Creek, a mattress too close to a heater caused another house fire," Commissioner Mullins said.

"This morning at Marrickville, a woman suffered burns when a fire broke out in the main bedroom of her home, a resident suffered smoke inhalation when an electrical fault caused a fire in their Wollstonecraft unit, and a woman escaped her Kootingal home after a fire broke out.

"People need to take the risk of a fire breaking out in their home seriously.

"Many people don’t realise that winter is the worst time of the year for home fires.

“Home fires in the cooler months are often far more serious and are more likely to result in injuries and deaths.

“Complacency is the biggest killer. I appeal to families not to leave home fire safety to chance. Do not leave cooking unattended. Turn off heaters and electrical appliances before you go to sleep and keep flammable materials and clothing at least 1 metre away from heaters and open fires.

"The best way to keep your family out of harm's way and to identify potential risks is by making sure you have working smoke alarms and a practised home escape plan, and then doing a FRNSW/GIO online home fire safety check."

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

· Never leaving cooking, open fires, smoking materials and candles unattended
· Keeping clothing and other flammable materials at least 1m from heaters and open fires
· Turning off heaters before going to sleep
· Turning off electric blankets before going to sleep
· Cleaning the lint filter in clothes dryers after each load
· Not overloading power points and power boards

Complete a free online home fire safety check at: www.homefiresafetyaudit.com.au