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Always prepare and be aware for the upcoming summer fire season

The recent house-fire tragedy in Toowoomba, Queensland, where a boy was killed and his brother was critically injured, highlights how being unprepared in an uncontrolled fire can have unfortunate consequences.

Nathan Perry, the father of Blade and Jeremy, rescued the boys from the inferno albeit suffering burns to his arms. The Toowoomba property was undergoing renovations and had no working smoke alarms.

Research by the Melbourne Metropolitan Fire Brigade shows that household members are four times for more likely to die in a house fire when there are no working smoke alarms. It is mandated by law to have working smoke alarms installed in your property (check your local jurisdiction for specific requirements). Test your smoke alarms weekly to ensure they are working correctly.

Planning ahead for the summer fire season must be part of every household’s routine

In the event of a house fire, there is limited time to act; especially when it is unexpected. When there is little or no planning for these dangerous situations, wrong decisions can be made leading to detrimental consequences.

A fire escape plan is an essential safety measure that gives clear instructions to householders about how best to escape from a fire.

It should be rehearsed at least 3-4 times per year. Alternating the time of day the rehearsal occurs will prepare you and your family for different conditions.

A good fire escape plan includes two of the quickest escape paths from each area of the home. All escape paths need to be checked regularly to make sure they are always accessible and ready for use. If windows have been chosen as an escape path install a fire escape ladder should it be required.

Look around your home for any potential fire risks such as frayed electrical cabling, overloaded power boards and malfunctioning equipment. Never recharge electrical equipment on soft furnishings such as a bed linen. In the kitchen, never leave cooking unattended.

The garden has many natural fuel sources to start and grow a fire, a well-maintained and clean garden reduces the risk of these fuels igniting.

Investing in fire mitigation equipment such as fire extinguishers and fire blankets can help stop a fire before it becomes out control.

The Bushfire and Hazards Co-operative Research Centre reports that fire conducive conditions in both southern and northern Australia have increased the threat of fire.

The New South Wales Rural Fire Service has prepared a bushfire survival plan which provides detailed information about how you can organise your home and family in the event of a bushfire.

Contact your local fire service for the latest advice and developments for the upcoming summer fire season.