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Spring clean to improve fire safety

Published: 1st September 2008

NSW Fire Brigades Commissioner (NSWFB) Greg Mullins today encouraged households to 'spring clean' and reduce the risk of fire in the home.

"NSWFB figures show almost 25% of last year’s house fires - or more than 1076 - occurred between 1 September and 30 November 2007.

"With spring here, people should use the momentum of a 'spring clean' to prepare homes for the warmer months and clear out any rubbish, piles of old newspapers, cardboard boxes and unused furniture and ensure that nothing is blocking the exit and escape points in the home.

"We know that 50 per cent of residential fires start in the kitchen, so it's essential to clean your cooking appliances and remove built up grease from range hood filters as part of any spring clean."

Commissioner Mullins said by following a few fire safety precautions and having a working smoke alarm and home escape plan, households will be better protected from fire.

"In particular, household chemicals, such as pesticides, pool chemicals, and caustic cleaning agents can accelerate the spread of a fire and produce a lot of toxic smoke.

"Make sure garden and household chemicals are locked well away from children and check the manufacturer's instructions on the containers regarding storage and use of these chemicals."

Pruning back branches on shrubs and trees in your garden is a good way to minimise the fuel load for a potential fire and clean the outside of your house by removing leaves from gutters, roofs and downpipes and fit quality metal leaf guards.

A good spring clean should also include checking power points and power boards to make sure they're not overloaded and inspecting electrical cords and equipment for damage.

"We would ask households to take the time to spring clean their smoke alarms by using a vacuum cleaner to remove any dust particles, which can hinder the smoke alarms' performance in a fire situation.

"It's a sad fact that losing property, possessions or worse in a fire is often preventable and with a good spring clean, people stand a better chance of protecting their homes and families from fire."