With winter coming up and heaters going on, its important to be vigilant and ensure your family’s winter fire safety.
Many families will spend the winter months with heaters humming all through the night, but because of the falling temperatures outside, fire seems like a distant and unlikely occurrence. This is, however, far from the truth. Last winter, Superintendent Jones of the ACT Fire & Rescue said that figures indicate a consistent trend during winter months that additional efforts have to be called in to ensure residents do not become complacent outside of bushfire season.
The use of heaters, fireplaces and electric blankets is cause for concern, especially if they have been left unused and unserviced since last year. Additionally, colder weather is cause for more people to stay indoors, opening up more chance of human error.
Winter fire safety tips
- Have all heating equipment installed by a qualified tradesperson.
- Have any maintenance for heating equipment conducted by a qualified tradesperson, and have all gas heating appliances checked by a qualified gas fitter (find out more via The Chase & Tyler Foundation).
- Always use a screen front of open fire places. Do not dry laundry near an open fire nor on any heater.
- Flues and chimneys should be maintained by a professional every year to prevent the collection of flammable material and ensure the items functionality.
- Keep portable heating devices away from wet areas, such as bathrooms, to avoid possible electrical shock.
- Always supervise children and pets near any kind of heating device.
- Check wires on portable heaters and electrical blankets for damage and fraying. Dispose of item if damaged.
- Check the functionality of all smoke alarms in the home – replace the batteries if required, and replace the entire units if their warranty periods have expired.
- Install a carbon monoxide alarm.
- Stock up on fire extinguishers and fire blankets in case of small emergencies.
- Discuss emergency contacts and fire escape plan with all family members and be sure all members understand and conduct practice runs.
Only working smoke alarms save lives. Be safe this winter and stay alive.