RAC urges homeowners to take care after a spike in house fires this winter

Stock image.
Stock image.

THE RAC is urging property owners to take precautions around their homes this winter following a rise in house fires across WA, causing more than $1.2 million in damage.

RAC home claims manager Glen Walker said there had been five catastrophic house fires in June, with damage bills ranging from $150,000 to $350,000.

He said it was the largest number of catastrophic house fire claims and the biggest damage bill the insurer had seen for June over the past fiver years.

“We know there’s an increase in potential fire hazards in and around the home during winter, with people using heaters, electric blankets and candles more often,” he said.

“We’ve also recently seen fires started from outdoor pits that have not been extinguished properly after use.

“Incorrectly installed down lights, over-loaded power-boards, faulty electric appliances and unattended cooking are also common ways house fires can ignite.”

Mr Walker said most house fires could easily be prevented.

“We often see traumatic house fires that could have easily been avoided with the right preventive actions,” he said.

“We recommend occupants test their smoke alarms every month, change the batteries at least once a year and make sure a fire blanket or extinguisher is easy to access, but away from any potential fire hazards.

“It’s also important to always have licensed and qualified tradespeople install lighting, air conditioning and heating systems and to have them serviced regularly.”

He said it was important that house owners also properly insure the cost of their house and contents in case of a fire.

“The cost of rebuilding an average home after a house fire is close to $350,000, while the approximate cost of replacing contents lost in a house fire is around $120,000. These amounts can increase significantly depending on the style of the home and the belongings that have been damaged or destroyed,” he said.

“We recommend members check that their level of insurance cover accurately reflects the value of their home and contents.”