Winter might be over but the threat of residential fires hasn’t been extinguished and Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) is urging the public not to become complacent about home safety.
This winter resulted in 16 residential fire deaths across NSW, the highest death toll on record and four times the 2021 winter total of four.
Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience and Minister for Flood Recovery Steph Cooke said of the 897 residential fires this winter, around 45 per cent didn’t have active smoke alarms and 20 per cent of homes had no smoke alarm at all.
Check your smoke alarms
‘This life-saving message has been repeated time after time – please check your smoke alarms and ensure they’re working.
‘Every one of the deaths we’ve witnessed this winter has been tragic and preventable. Please don’t delay it any longer, go out and purchase a smoke alarm to protect your life and your loved ones.’
FRNSW Commissioner Paul Baxter said it’s important to take simple, inexpensive steps to protect our irreplaceable things; our lives, and the lives of our loved ones. ‘Protecting your loved ones and the home you live in should be your number one priority.
‘We spend a lot of money on the things inside our homes, spending $30 on a working smoke alarm to protect these things is an economical and logical life-saving decision.
‘Fires can happen to you – there are always risks but as we regularly discover, when a smoke alarm sounds, it buys crucial seconds for people to safely get out of a burning home.
Mr Baxter said poisonous smoke is the first threat you’ll generally face in a fire. ‘If those chemicals get into your system, they’ll knock you unconscious or worse, so ensure you also have an escape plan.
‘No matter what season it is, winter or spring, ensure you have a smoke alarm that works.
‘If you’ve got one but it’s turned yellow, get it replaced, it’s past its use-by date.
‘FRNSW is extremely concerned by the devastating loss of life this winter and we will continue to urge people to do everything in their power to be safe from fire risk within their own homes.’
Book a Home Safety Visit
If you’re having trouble replacing smoke alarms or their batteries, you can book a Home Safety Visit, where FRNSW crews can inspect your home to prevent fire and fit smoke alarms for you, free of charge. More information is available at: https://www.fire.nsw.gov.au/
FRNSW also advises the public to:
· Check and maintain smoke alarms once installed;
· Clean the lint filter from your clothes dryer after each use;
· Keep any drying clothes or anything flammable at least a metre from the heater;
· Clean and maintain any fireplaces;
· Do not use outdoor heating or cooking equipment inside your home;
· Check electric blankets are safe for use and never go to bed or leave home with your electric blanket on;
· Do not overheat wheat bags in the microwave;
· Do not overload power boards;
· Never leave cooking unattended;
· Always use candles under adult supervision and do not leave them unattended where possible;
· Ensure you have a ‘home fire escape plan” and practice it regularly with your family; and
· If a fire does occur, get out, stay out and call Triple Zero (000).