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Eldridge family count blessings after terrifying home fire before festive season

Eleven-year-old Joseph Eldridge has used his skills learnt from school to alert emergency services and help his family escape a dangerous house fire which was caused by an unattended candle.

Metropolitan Fire Brigade station officer Bryan Morrison underscored the importance of practising your fire escape plan and testing your smoke alarms.

“There are some very simple ways to help prevent a house fire including having a working smoke alarm,” Mr Morrison said.

In many situations, death or severe injury has been the result of no working smoke alarms.

“Each year more people die and are injured in house fires than in bushfires,” he said.

Prepare for the Christmas and summer fire risks

In the days leading up to the festive season, we have an opportunity to prepare our homes against potential fire risks that present themselves during this time.

Avoid overloading electrical outlets and circuit boards as they can malfunction.

Frayed or damaged electrical cabling is a common house fire risk especially from Christmas decorations. When any electrical cabling becomes compromised have it replaced. Never leave electrical Christmas decorations unattended.

Always re-charge electrical devices away from fire-friendly materials such as bed linen.

Test your smoke alarms only by pressing the test button. If your smoke alarms are older than 10 years, new smoke alarms should be purchased to replace the old units. Vacuum your smoke alarms regularly to remove dust build-up.

A fire escape plan is an essential safety measure that every household needs to practice. The Eldridge family’s regular rehearsal of their fire escape plan was invaluable as their escape was swift. All exit paths need to be clean and clear from any obstructions that could slow-down or impede your escape.

Never leave your cooking unattended as it easy very easy to become distracted and forget.

BBQs can be left outside for long periods of time without them being regularly checked before their use.

Look out for rust or damage on LPG cylinders and make sure any connections are clean and properly secured. To check for a gas leakage, spray soapy water on all connections and hose and watch for bubbles.

If you are unsure turn off the gas supply and have a licensed service person attend to the hose or connection.