With the cooler climate now taking full effect, the extra blankets are coming out, waterproof jackets are being worn, and heaters are getting cranked to their highest temperatures. The increased usage of heating equipment this season makes it important to reconsider your stance on fire safety.
Ill-maintained heating units and gas heating appliances can be dangerous to the loved ones trying to stay warm at home this winter.
During this season it is important to:
- Have any heating equipment installed by a qualified tradesperson.
- Have any maintenance for heating equipment conducted by a qualified tradesperson. Also important to have gas heating appliances checked by a qualified gas fitter.
- Always use a screen in front of open fires. Do not dry laundry near to an open fire.
- Flues and chimneys should also be maintained by a professional yearly to prevent the collection of flammable material and to ensure the item functions correctly.
- Keep portable heating devices away from wet areas, such as bathrooms, to avoid possible electric shock.
- Always supervise children and pets near any kind of heating device.
Winter is also an important time to re-evaluate and check any fire detection devices and fire safety equipment, such as smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, fire blankets and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms. Australian families should also have an understood and practiced home escape plan.
You wouldn’t play with snakes…
A recent news release by the MFB in Melbourne found that:
- 47% of Australian parents list house fires as one of their greatest fears, trumping poisonous snakes (18%), spiders (11%), aggressive dogs (8%) and sharks (7%).
- Even with such a high percentage of parents fearing house fires, only 3% of households reliant on a single smoke alarm test it monthly.
- The most common home escape plan for 72% of Australian families is ‘get out quick’, while less than 4% have a tried and tested plan set in accordance with fire and emergency services recommendations.
- The most common installation location is the hallway at 89%, with living rooms (37%), kitchen (37%) and bedroom (21%) trailing behind.
- 77% of Australians admit difficulties in checking and maintaining their smoke alarms.
- When it comes to responsibilities, 90% of parents have not discussed and agreed who is going to be responsible for checking the smoke alarm.
Remember, the weather doesn’t have to be hot to cause a fire. Don’t just change your smoke alarm batteries when the yearly campaign calls for it, change your mindset on fire safety and be a part of the revolution.