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Home fire safety warning following spate of dishwasher fires

Published: 19th March 2008

NSW Fire Brigades (NSWFB) Commissioner Greg Mullins said today that dishwashers were responsible for at least 102 fires in NSW in the past three years, highlighting the need for fire safety precautions, especially in the home.

Commissioner Mullins said 10 of these fires had occurred this year, with a fire involving a dishwasher as recently as last weekend, where a dishwasher caught alight in a Naremburn home and caused extensive damage to the kitchen.

The NSWFB is also assisting the NSW Office of Fair Trading, which yesterday announced the recall of a number of models of dishwashers.

"Our homes are filled with electrical appliances so it is not surprising that they can be a cause of fires in the home," Commissioner Mullins said. "Almost 10% - or more than 400 - of the 4 208 house fires that the NSWFB attended between 1 July 2006 and 30 June 2007 were caused by electrical appliances.

"Recently, however, fire investigators noticed a growing number of fires where a dishwasher was identified as the source and this was cause for concern, particularly as the common element in many of these fires appeared to be an electrical fault.

"Thankfully no one was injured in these fires but many of them resulted in significant damage to homes and placed lives at risk."

Commissioner Mullins said the Office of Fair Trading's recall of some dishwasher models provided a timely reminder for all households to review their fire safety measures.

"There are thousands of fires in homes in NSW every year but there are simple things that everyone can do to prevent them from occurring in the first place or be better prepared if they do happen.

"To prevent a fire involving appliances from occurring make sure your appliances are in good working order and properly installed and maintained according to the manufacturer's instructions.

"We also recommend that electrical appliances such as dishwashers, washing machines and dryers are turned off before you leave the house.

"It is also vital that every home has working smoke alarms and residents have prepared and practiced a home escape plan so that if there is a fire they get an early warning and know how to get out quickly and safely.

"If a fire starts, turn off power immediately at the power point or switchboard if safe to do so and call Triple Zero (000)."