Households shown to lack basic fire precautions

The high-risk winter fire season is approaching and new research by RACQ Insurance shows only one in five Queenslanders have an extinguisher in their home and only one quarter have a fire blanket, a warning to other Australians to ramp up their fire preparations.

While Queensland householders put a high value on securing personal identity items - Wallets, purses and handbags topped the list at 71.8%, followed by pets at 54.3% - the study showed a concerning one-third of Queenslanders (31.2%) don’t know how to correctly operate a fire extinguisher.

The biggest fire hazard was household appliances left unattended, such as computers at 70.9%, printers and routers at 68.2%, followed by dishwashers at 64.9% and washing machines at 63.8%.

RACQ’s communications manager Mike Sopinski said “we are reminding people that they should be at home when these appliances are on in case of a fire.”

And it's not just Queenslanders that need to be vigilant, according to Fire and Rescue NSW almost half of all home fires are started in the kitchen and 43% of all fire fatalities occur in winter.

To prepare yourself before a fire strikes follow some of these simple and effective tips. 

1. Make a family fire plan. Show the kids where to go and what to do in case of a fire.

2. Have the proper equipment. Make sure you have a fire extinguisher and blanket and your smoke alarm is properly installed.

3. Do a winter equipment safety audit. Check electric blankets, store matches or lighters away from the kids and take care with portable heaters.

4. Check your insurance. Is your home insurance up to date and does it cover you (and your family) in case of a fire? You can easily compare home insurance policies with Mozo’s home insurance search tool here.

5. Make a soft copy of your insurance and other personal identity. Scan your insurance policy and passport to your computer and send it to your email, so there will be no dramas if you need to make a claim.