CFA has seen a spike in fires caused by cooling units recently with 21 incidents since the start of this year.
As temperatures have started to rise again this week, firefighters are asking the community to check when they last serviced their air con units and evaporative coolers to prevent possible fires.
CFA State Fire Investigation Coordinator Nicole Harvey says when it’s hot, you’re going to want to use your cooling systems but you could be putting your life and your loved ones at risk.
“You need to maintain your air conditioners and evaporative coolers by ensuring the units are regularly serviced according to the manufacturer’s specifications,” she said.
“We simply want you to cool your home safely so our firefighters don’t have to pay you a visit.”
On 14 January this year, a Rowville house was extensively damaged after a fire, which was caused by an evaporative cooler, rapidly spread through the top storey of the brick home.
Around 4pm that day, a grandmother was at the Rowville home looking after her grandkids when she smelt smoke and soon saw black smoke coming from the cooling unit.
The family escaped the house uninjured but the roof and the top storey of the house was completely destroyed by fire.
“If this incident had occurred in the middle of the night while the occupants were asleep, we could have been investigating a far more devastating and potentially deadly outcome,” Ms Harvey said.
“Fires like these can be prevented with some simple maintenance and servicing.”
“We need the community to understand the risk and help us protect lives and property.”
CFA also urges Victorians to check the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s product safety recall website to determine if their cooling unit has been recalled due to the risk of fire.
“People with air conditioner / evaporative cooler units that have been recalled due to being identified as posing a potential fire need to act immediately if they haven’t done so already,” Ms Harvey said.
“Community members cooling their homes with these types of units should make sure they check the latest Product Safety Recalls online to ensure their system is safe.”
“If there is a recall notice for your unit, the website has instructions on what needs to be done to rework the system to make it safe.”
To check all recalls see https://www.productsafety.gov.au/recalls
Air conditioning safety tips:
- Regularly service and maintain your air conditioner to ensure it’s in good working order
- Only use certified tradespeople to repair damaged or faulty appliances
- Always follow manufacturer’s instructions
- Keep your air conditioners and coolers clear of clutter and other materials
- Turn electrical appliances off at the power point when not in use