Wake up to the risk of electrical fires at home this winter

Member News image Be aware of the risk of fires from everyday electrical household items


This winter, Victoria’s fire services are warning Victorians to be aware of the risk of fires from everyday electrical household items.


Residents are being advised to keep the safety and maintenance of their electrical equipment front of mind when it comes to appliances such as clothes dryers, electric blankets and recharging portable devices.

In 2022-23, Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV) and CFA responded to more than 5,137 structure fires across the state, which includes house fires.

“When a fire takes hold in a house, unit or apartment, it can swiftly spread and destroy your home in just a matter of minutes,” said FRV Deputy Commissioner Community Safety Joshua Fischer.

“Electrical fires are a common type of fire in the home. You can cut the risks by following a few simple steps and adopting commonsense habits that could make the difference between life and death.

“You should only use electrical equipment that meets Australian standards. Don’t overload power boards or cover them with flammable material. And don’t put electrical devices like laptops or hair straighteners on soft surfaces.”

DC Fischer said that people should turn off electrical devices at the power point, including electrical blankets and heaters before going to bed or leaving your home.

“Prevention is an essential part of fire safety for your home, so make a note on your to-do list. It really is worth taking a few minutes this winter to ensure you and your loved ones are protected against the risk of an electrical fire,” he said.

CFA Chief Officer Jason Heffernan said residents should check their appliances are in good working order with good air flow around them.

“No one thinks a house fire is going to happen to them, but last year CFA responded to 780 residential structure fires.  More than 140 of those were caused by electrical equipment including appliances and air conditioning. Already this year there have been over 60 electrical fires in the home,” CO Heffernan said.

“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.

“It’s also important to check your home office is set up safely, with no loose cables or double adaptors and switch off any appliances at the wall when they’re not being used.

"We recommend all households have working smoke alarms that are regularly inspected and tested, you can buy them for as little as $20.”

 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, power banks 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