Melbourne home with no working smoke alarms claims woman’s life

A FIRE in a double-storey house in Melbourne’s west with no working smoke alarms has claimed a woman’s life who was unable to escape during the early morning hours last weekend.

This tragic incident cautions us about how not being fire safety conscious can lead to detrimental consequences.

It is believed that towels near a heater caught fire which quickly spread, engulfing the home in flames. Her carer, having limited time to escape, was unable to save the woman as her bedroom was upstairs and she had a disability.

If the home was fitted with working smoke alarms and the pair had a fire escape plan the outcome of this situation could have been different.

Elderly people and individuals with a disability that restricts their mobility should have their bedroom located on the ground floor close to exits of the home. This decision in turn allows for a swift evacuation. In addition, wheelchairs and other mobility assisting equipment should also be located in their bedroom when where they are sleeping to increase their chance of escape.

A fire escape plan looks to identify the quickest ways to escape. Household members should practise their fire escape plan regularly and check their home for any potential fire risks such as frayed cabling and faulty electrical appliances.

Family First has developed a fire escape plan that can help you determine the fastest ways to escape from a fire in your home.

Put keys in secure and accessible locations so if doors are deadlocked they can be easily opened.

Always remember to be fire safety conscious. For example, never leave cooking unattended and keep clothing and blankets a safe distance from heaters.

Check that your home has fire safety equipment like photoelectric smoke alarms, fire extinguishers and fire blankets as these defences can help mitigate a fire before it worsens.

Every household must have installed working photoelectric smoke alarms, recommended by all Australian fire brigades, as they give extra warning time to escape.