Households urged to get fire safe this winter

As the cooler months settle in, leading fire and safety experts are urging all Aussie households to conduct a fire safety audit to minimise the risks of a fire this winter.

According to Fire and Safety NSW (FRNSW) more than half of fatal house fires between 2000 and 2014 had no smoke alarm present. A fire safety audit should involve checking the batteries of your smoke alarm to ensure they are in working order or if you don’t have an alarm installed, do it immediately.

“A fire can take hold in just three minutes, filling your home with deadly smoke. A working smoke alarm gives you vital seconds to get out,” said FRNSW Commissioner Greg Mullins.

Manager Safety and Environmental Services of Essential Energy, Brian Mclean said electrical safety was critical around heating appliances to avoid fire or serious injury and advised households to check all heaters and electric blankets for frayed wires, broken switches or damaged plugs before use.


“If you’re unsure about an appliance you should have it tested by an authorised electrical repairer for peace of mind,” he said.

While households should be proactive in preventing an electrical accident, it is also important that they check their home insurance policy is up to date and provides adequate cover in the unfortunate event of a fire.

Other simple precautions to reduce your risk of an electrical accident this winter include:

  • Keep heaters at least one metre away from flammable items like furniture and clothing

  • Switch heaters and other electrical appliances off before you leave the room or go to sleep

  • Have a written home escape plan with your family and practice it regularly

  • If you’re looking for a new heater consider its safety features such as an automatic cut off switch if the heater is accidentally knocked over