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Get Ready for Winter

Help us help you by taking action to ensure you and your family stay safe this winter.

Checklist

Download your winter fire safety checklist and get your home ready for winter.

Watch

You can also watch our firefighters as they walk you through a winter fire safety check of a home.

Get Ready for Winter Checklist

Smoke alarms

Did you know that you will not smell smoke while asleep? Only working smoke alarms save lives.

  • Test that your smoke alarm/s are working. If not, change the batteries or replace the alarm.
  • Check the smoke alarm is in date. Smoke alarms have a lifespan of ten years.
  • Give the smoke alarm a vacuum, if you haven’t done so in the last six months, to remove dust and any insects.

To meet legislation you must have at least one working smoke alarm on each level of the home placed between bedrooms and living areas, it’s the law. FRNSW also recommends having one in each bedroom. Hardwired and interconnected is best.

Find out more about buying, installing and maintaining your smoke alarm

Smoke alarms

Did you know that you will not smell smoke while asleep? Only working smoke alarms save lives.

  • Test that your smoke alarm/s are working. If not, change the batteries or replace the alarm.
  • Check the smoke alarm is in date. Smoke alarms have a lifespan of ten years.
  • Give the smoke alarm a vacuum, if you haven’t done so in the last six months, to remove dust and any insects.

To meet legislation you must have at least one working smoke alarm on each level of the home placed between bedrooms and living areas, it’s the law. FRNSW also recommends having one in each bedroom. Hardwired and interconnected is best.

Escape plans

Having a home escape plan in conjunction with a working smoke alarm will greatly increase your chances of getting out safely. Every second counts.

If there is a fire in your home, do not wait, EVERY SECOND COUNTS, GET OUT and STAY OUT and then call Triple Zero (000). Never go back inside a burning building.

Remember to consider the special needs of children, the elderly or the disabled when developing your escape plan.

  • Draw your escape plan, and discuss it with your whole family. Download your grid here (PDF).
  • Know and record two safe ways out of every room. Make sure that your windows and doors are not obstructed and can be unlocked and opened quickly if necessary.
  • Practise your escape plan regularly with the whole household including pets. Your letter box is a great place to wait for firefighters arrival.
  • As you escape make sure you close internal doors behind you. This can reduce fire spread and minimise damage.
Escape plans

Having a home escape plan in conjunction with a working smoke alarm will greatly increase your chances of getting out safely. Every second counts.

If there is a fire in your home, do not wait, EVERY SECOND COUNTS, GET OUT and STAY OUT and then call Triple Zero (000). Never go back inside a burning building.

Remember to consider the special needs of children, the elderly or the disabled when developing your escape plan.

  • Draw your escape plan, and discuss it with your whole family. Download your grid here (PDF).
  • Know and record two safe ways out of every room. Make sure that your windows and doors are not obstructed and can be unlocked and opened quickly if necessary.
  • Practise your escape plan regularly with the whole household including pets. Your letter box is a great place to wait for firefighters arrival.
  • As you escape make sure you close internal doors behind you. This can reduce fire spread and minimise damage.
Fireplaces and chimneys

Ensure your flues and chimneys are regularly cleaned. Place a fire screen in front of open fires to protect your family.

  • Have your chimney serviced prior to using it by a qualified tradesperson.
  • Purchase a fire screen if you do not own one. Fire screens should always be placed in front of fireplaces when in use.
  • Ensure your wood pile sits at least a metre away from the fireplace.
  • Choose a safe place to store matches and lighters where children cannot reach and that is at least a metre away from the fireplace.

Learn more about reducing the risk of common house fires

Fireplaces and chimneys

Ensure your flues and chimneys are regularly cleaned. Place a fire screen in front of open fires to protect your family.

  • Have your chimney serviced prior to using it by a qualified tradesperson.
  • Purchase a fire screen if you do not own one. Fire screens should always be placed in front of fireplaces when in use.
  • Ensure your wood pile sits at least a metre away from the fireplace.
  • Choose a safe place to store matches and lighters where children cannot reach and that is at least a metre away from the fireplace.
Heaters

Ensure everything is kept a metre from the heater.

  • Check your electric and gas heaters before you use them. If you suspect a fault have the item checked by a qualified repairer or replaced. Check all cords for fraying and damage. Plug heaters directly into wall sockets only.
  • Do not overload powerboards.
  • Ensure everything is kept a metre from the heater.
  • Install any new heaters and use as per manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Check your portable outdoor heaters before use and have serviced or replaced if required. Ensure that the area where you plan to use them is level, well ventilated and away from awnings and other combustible materials.

NEVER use any outdoor heating or cooking equipment inside your home including those that use ‘heat beads’ or LPG as a fuel source. This type of equipment is not suitable for indoor use and can lead to a build up of lethal gases which could be deadly. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations before use.

Help prevent a fire in your home

Heaters

Ensure everything is kept a metre from the heater.

  • Check your electric and gas heaters before you use them. If you suspect a fault have the item checked by a qualified repairer or replaced. Check all cords for fraying and damage. Plug heaters directly into wall sockets only.
  • Do not overload powerboards.
  • Ensure everything is kept a metre from the heater.
  • Install any new heaters and use as per manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Check your portable outdoor heaters before use and have serviced or replaced if required. Ensure that the area where you plan to use them is level, well ventilated and away from awnings and other combustible materials.

NEVER use any outdoor heating or cooking equipment inside your home including those that use ‘heat beads’ or LPG as a fuel source. This type of equipment is not suitable for indoor use and can lead to a build up of lethal gases which could be deadly. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations before use.

Electric blanket

Folding your electric blanket can cause damage. Always roll it for storage, and check for any damage before use.

  • Test your electric blanket before use by laying it on top of your bed, feeling the internal wires for any abnormalities and inspecting cords/controls for damage. Turn it on for 5 minutes and then feel for any uneven hot spots. If you notice any of the above the electric blanket should be replaced.
  • Ready to pack your electric blanket away? Roll it for storage, folding can cause damage.

Electric blankets are not designed to be used while sleeping. Consider adding additional bedding to keep warm if needed.

Help prevent a fire in your home

Electric blanket

Folding your electric blanket can cause damage. Always roll it for storage, and check for any damage before use.

  • Test your electric blanket before use by laying it on top of your bed, feeling the internal wires for any abnormalities and inspecting cords/controls for damage. Turn it on for 5 minutes and then feel for any uneven hot spots. If you notice any of the above the electric blanket should be replaced.
  • Ready to pack your electric blanket away? Roll it for storage, folding can cause damage.

Electric blankets are not designed to be used while sleeping. Consider adding additional bedding to keep warm if needed.

Wheat bags

Wheat bags can help pain, but they also have the potential to cause burns and fire if not used properly.

  • Check your wheat bags for signs of wear and tear or scorching. Replace if needed.
  • Follow the manufacterer’s instructions when heating, using and storing.

Wheat bags can easily ignite or burn if overheated and need to completely cool on a non-combustible surface before storing. They are only designed to be applied directly to the body and should never be used in bed or while sleeping.

Find out what you need to know about heating and using wheat bags

Wheat bags

Wheat bags can help pain, but they also have the potential to cause burns and fire if not used properly.

  • Check your wheat bags for signs of wear and tear or scorching. Replace if needed.
  • Follow the manufacterer’s instructions when heating, using and storing.

Wheat bags can easily ignite or burn if overheated and need to completely cool on a non-combustible surface before storing. They are only designed to be applied directly to the body and should never be used in bed or while sleeping.

Did you know?


The use of heaters, cigarettes and candles are common causes of fires.


When you're asleep, you won't smell the smoke from a fire.


You're twice as likely to die in a home fire if you don't have a working smoke alarm.

Fire and Rescue NSW responds to approximately
4500
residential fires each year.
Half of these fires start in the kitchen, mostly due to unattended cooking.


Electrical appliances and faults cause almost 40% of home fires.