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As heaters crank up, so does the fire risk
A cold snap across the state has Victorians retrieving their heaters from hibernation, increasing the risk of house fires.
CFA State Duty Officer Rohan Luke said winter is the highest risk period for residential fires and heating equipment including electric heaters, gas heaters and wood fires contribute to this risk.
“Having your heaters checked and in good working condition, together with careful and correct use will greatly reduce the danger these appliances present,” Mr Luke said.
“Last year CFA attended 1,650 house fires, tragically resulting in 16 deaths. But that’s just part of the story. There are also countless injuries and traumatised families.”
Mr Luke said poorly maintained gas fires can cause deadly carbon monoxide poisoning.
“We have seen the tragic consequences of this in the past,” he said.
“There can be no greater reason to have your gas heater inspected and serviced than to ensure the safety of loved ones.”
“Every household should consider their fire safety practices and examine the potential risks around their home.
“Another common mistake is people drying clothes indoors near heaters and fireplaces, which could be dangerous. Clothes should be kept at least one metre from the heat source.”
There are a number of ways people can prepare for winter:
- Wood fires: check that chimneys are clean and clear of obstructions, place a guard around open fires, and ensure flammable materials are stored away from the firebox.
- Gas heaters: ensure they are serviced annually by a qualified serviceman to prevent the chance of gas leaks and other faults.
- Electric heaters: check for damage to electrical cords, always place the heater in a safe location where it can’t be tipped over, never leave the heater unattended, and ensure the heater is fitted with a safety guards to protect children or pets from getting too close.
For more home fire safety information visit www.cfa.vic.gov.au