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Fire and Rescue NSW urgent plea to community following spate of house fires

Published: 26th June 2019

Following a spate of deadly fires, with five deaths in four days, and 91 fire incidents since the start of winter (1 June 2019), Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) is urging the community to be vigilant and take precautions to try and avoid a fire in their home.

“We don’t want these statistics to continue to climb and therefore we’re making an urgent plea to the community to take extra care during this cold, damp spell,” says Paul Baxter, Fire and Rescue NSW Commissioner.

“Today’s fire in Singleton in the NSW Hunter Valley is a tragic reminder of the harsh reality of the importance of fire safety in Australia’s winter months. Our firefighters prepare themselves for winter as emergency house calls rise. Too often they are called to home fires sparked by overloaded powerboards, frayed cords, and the overheating and misuse of heating appliances and equipment.”

Some simple steps the community can take include:

  • Never ever leave cooking unattended and always remember to Keep Looking When Cooking. If possible, keep a fire extinguisher and fire blanket handy in the kitchen
  • Keep everything – furnishing, curtains, clothing - one metre away from your heater.
  • Do not overload your power boards with these extra winter appliances – such as heaters, electric blankets and dryers
  • Ensure flues and chimneys are regularly cleaned.
  • Strong fire screens should be set up in front of open fires.
  • Turn off your electric blanket at night.
  • Do not use outdoor heating and cooking equipment inside your home. The use of this type of equipment indoors could lead to the build-up of carbon monoxide which could be fatal.

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“On average, more than 30% of preventable home fires occur in the cooler months, with 60% of these occurring overnight (between 6.00pm and 6.00am). Before you leave your house or go to bed each night, check that all your appliances are switched off and ensure that open fires have been fully extinguished. If we all do our bit to minimise the risks in our home, we can all stay safer together,” said Commissioner Baxter.

For further information about winter fire safety, visit www.fire.nsw.gov.au or contact your local fire station.

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Winter fire safety promotional resources for media can be found here: https://www.fire.nsw.gov.au/page.php?id=9285