Be wary of electrical fire risk in the home

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Victoria’s fire services are calling on households to keep the safety and maintenance of their electrical equipment and appliances front of mind following a recent clothes dryer fire which destroyed a home.


Firefighters responded to the dryer fire in Berwick which started in the middle of the night. Thankfully the three residents escaped unharmed, but firefighters worked for 30 minutes to control the blaze, which had extended through the roof space and quickly engulfed the whole house.

Once a house fire starts it can spread rapidly and engulf your home in a matter of minutes. By adopting fire-safe habits and reducing potential hazards there is a lot you can do to protect yourself and the people you live with.

In an average year, Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV) and Country Fire Authority (CFA) respond to more than 3,000 residential fire incidents across the state. Too many of which are preventable.

Fire Rescue Victoria Commissioner Gavin Freeman, AFSM said Victorians should be wary of overloaded power boards, phone and laptop chargers and electric blankets.

“Electrical hazards in the home are a common cause for house fires these days, but you can greatly reduce your risk by taking some simple safety measures,” Commissioner Freeman AFSM said.

“Make sure you’re not overloading power boards. Don’t leave your phone charging overnight. And never put electrical appliances like hair straighteners and laptops on soft surfaces.

“Take the time to service your ducted heating and clean your range hood and oven regularly, prevention is the best policy when it comes to fire safety.”

CFA Chief Officer Jason Heffernan said the Berwick dryer fire is a relatable reminder to residents to check their appliances are in good working order with good air flow around them.

“Using damaged or faulty electrical equipment and appliances can result in a fire, so please, play it safe, and only use certified electrical tradespeople to repair faulty appliances,” CO Heffernan said.

“No one thinks a house fire is going to happen to them, but CFA attended 137 electrical fires last year and we’ve already responded to 84 this year.”

“To prevent a fire from igniting, take the time to check your home office is set up safely, with no loose cables, overloaded power boards or double adaptors and switch off any appliances at the wall when they’re not being used.”

For as little as $20, households can help safeguard their homes and loved ones by purchasing and installing affordable smoke alarms in all bedrooms, hallways and living areas.

Remember, for electrical appliances:   

  • Using damaged electrical equipment and appliances can result in a fire. Only use appliances in good working order. 
  • Turn off all electrical appliances at the power point when not in use and ensure your home office is set up safely.
  • Don’t use double adaptors.
  • Only use power boards according to manufacturers’ instructions, never overload or have loose cables, and check regularly for damage.
  • Ensure monitors, laptops, televisions and other equipment have good air flow around them and are not in confined spaces or covered.  
  • Only use certified electrical trades people to repair damaged/faulty electrical appliances, wiring or equipment.
  • Do not charge electrical devices like phones and laptops on soft surfaces such as couches and beds.
  • If you are going away on holiday, make sure to turn off power to electrical appliances and let a neighbour know you are away. 


Submitted by CFA Media