Winter fire peril alert

Department of Fire and Emergency Services fire investigation officer Gary Baxter.
Department of Fire and Emergency Services fire investigation officer Gary Baxter.

DFES metropolitan superintendant Craig Waters said people needed to remain careful around heating and open fires and when using candles and electric blankets.

‘Last year there were 172 accidental house fires in winter, an average of 14 fires each week and most were preventable,’ he said.

‘That number is about the average for the colder months when people are moving their activities from outside back into the home and so there’s more chance of fires occurring.

‘People are obviously pulling the heaters out of cupboards and things like that, so taking minor precautions really helps.

Mr Waters said basic action, including not leaving cooking unattended, keeping objects one metre away from heaters and open fires and arming homes with working fire alarms, would help keep homes safe.

‘It really is just the basic stuff people need to be aware of.’

‘It is vital that people have working smoking alarms as being alerted to a fire in the early stages gives people the necessary minutes to escape before the smoke gets thick.’

‘Homes can be destroyed in minutes. It all depends on what is feeding the fire.

‘All smoke alarms, regardless of the power source, need to be replaced every 10 years and they also require yearly cleaning and maintenance.’