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Media Release

Residents urged to be aware of home fire danger during winter
Friday 1 June 2012 – 9:20 AM
With the start of winter today, FESA has urged residents to stay safe and take precautions to avoid accidental house fires. 
Last winter there were 207 house fires that caused an estimated property loss of nearly $8.5 million.

Fire Investigation and Analysis Unit Manager Craig Waters said recent house fires were a wake-up call and urged people to be careful around heating, candles and electric blankets.

“Fires can engulf a house within minutes, spreading throughout the home and threatening your family,” Mr Waters said.

“Even the smallest of fires can easily and quickly escalate so it is vital that you have a home escape plan that you have practiced with your loved ones.”

“Many fires can be prevented if people are aware of the dangers and put safety measures in place.”

The most common causes of house fires are flammable items being too close to heaters, open fires, candles, careless smoking, unattended cooking and electric blankets.

Fires occur more frequently over the colder months due to the increased use of heaters, electric blankets and open fires.

“Recently, a family was very lucky to escape a house fire after a candle left unattended in the living room set fire to the television, resulting in 80 per cent of the house being destroyed by the blaze,” Mr Waters said.

“Other recent house fires have been started by unattended ovens, a pot left on the stove, open wood fires, electrical fault and chimney flues.”

On average, five people lose their lives in house fires each year and the community are reminded that only working smoke alarms save lives.

To stay safe at home during winter:
  • Test your smoke alarms monthly, maintain your alarms and change batteries yearly.
  • Develop a home escape plan.
  • Keep lighters and matches out of the reach of children.
  • Take care when cooking and with open fires. Never leave your cooking unattended.
  • Keep flammable objects including beds, clothes and curtains at least one metre away from heaters or open fires.
  • Never smoke in bed or when you are tired as you may fall asleep, causing the cigarette to fall onto fabric and catch fire.
  • Check the heater, fireplace brickwork, chimney and flue before lighting a fire.
  • Ensure chimneys and flues are clean and free of soot and ash deposits.
  • If a fire starts in your home, leave and call triple zero (000) immediately.
For more information on home fire safety visit www.fesa.wa.gov.au  

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