When do you think more fire emergencies occur: in the hot months of summer, or during the winter season? While summer can seem a more likely period for fires, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services data shows that most fire-related deaths occur during the winter.
To protect your home and your family, it’s important to have a basic grasp of winter fire safety.
Heaters and Winter Fire Safety Tips
While heaters aren’t the only cause of fire-related deaths, injury and loss of property, they can be one of the most common culprits. This is why it’s so vital for Australians to avoid becoming complacent about winter fire safety, especially as it relates to heaters.
Never use a heater for anything other than its intended purpose. Heaters should not be used to dry clothes, for instance. They should be serviced regularly by authorised repair professionals and installers. Look for models fitted with safety switches designed to turn the heater off if it’s tipped over or falls.
Only purchase heaters which comply fully with Australian standards, and make sure all children, pets and objects are at least one metre away from heater devices at all times. While your morning ablutions may not be pleasant when it’s chilly, you also shouldn’t use portable heaters in wet areas, such as the bathroom.
General Winter Fire Safety Tips
It’s easy to get distracted while cooking a hot meal on a cold winter night, but you should remain vigilant to avoid kitchen fires. If you use electric blankets to warm your bed, make sure they’re turned off before you get in to avoid overheating and fire risk.
Never smoke in bed under any circumstances, as this is a common cause of fires. You should also make a point of cleaning lint filters in clothes dryers.
Is your home outfitted with a fire place? Screens should be used in front of them to minimise fire risk. Check wires on all of the seasonal devices you use to keep warm in the winter, as they can become damaged in storage and unsafe for use.
Keep a good stock of fire extinguishers and fire blankets on hand to be prepared in the event of a winter fire. Most importantly, make sure you’re able to protect your home and family, should the worst occur. Install both smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and maintain them carefully. Remember, they’re only effective protection when they’re in proper working order.
When you’re not sure if your home is adequately protected, a professional building inspector can help.
Winter fire safety is contingent upon your ability to be proactive, and to address issues wherever they may be found. Contacting a reputable and reliable building inspection company to schedule your winter fire safety checkup is an investment not only in your property, but in the health and safety of your entire household.
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