With preventable house fires having the potential to cause significant property damage, injuries and even death, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) is urging people to take precautions to prevent fire this winter.
DFES Metropolitan Superintendent Craig Waters urged people to be careful around heating and open fires or when using candles and electric blankets, which were used more in the cooler months and could often cause fires.
“Last year there were 172 accidental house fires in winter, an average of 14 fires each week, and most were preventable,” Mr Waters said.
“Even before the cold weather really sets in, unattended cooking equipment, inadequate control of an open flame, and children playing with matches have been the causes of 52 accidental house fires since March.”
Mr Waters said basic actions people could take to stay safe this winter included never leaving cooking unattended and keeping objects one metre away from heaters and open fires.
He said, on average, five people lose their lives in house fires each year, and the community were reminded that only working smoke alarms save lives.
“It is vital that people have working smoke alarms as being alerted to a fire in the early stages gives people the necessary minutes to escape before the smoke gets too thick,” Mr Waters said.
“All smoke alarms, regardless of the power source, need to be replaced every 10 years and they also require yearly cleaning and maintenance.”
DFES Fire Investigation Officers today held a walk through of a suburban Perth property that was severely damaged in a fire to demonstrate how quickly a house could be destroyed.
To stay safe this winter
• Have a working smoke alarm that is tested monthly and maintained annually
• Develop a home escape plan with your family
• Never leave cooking unattended and take care in the kitchen
• Keep lighters and matches away from children.
Top three causes of house fires in winter 2012*
• Unattended cooking equipment
• Heaters (too close to combustibles or electrical failure)
• Household electrical failures.
*This information is based on house fires that are deemed accidental. This information does not include any house fires where the cause is undetermined or suspicious.
Media Contact: Media and Public Affairs on 9225 5955.