Fire Safety Tips
Keep you and your family safe by being aware of fire dangers in and around your home. With modern day furnishings and building materials producing faster fires with higher levels of heat and toxic smoke than ever before, it is more important to not only avoid fires but also ensure you have a working smoke alarm on every level of your home.
Every second counts, so having a home escape plan will help you save precious time in the event of a fire.
If there is a fire in your home, call Triple Zero (000) immediately, don't wait, EVERY SECOND COUNTS, GET OUT and STAY OUT. Never go back inside a burning building.
- Draw your escape plan, and discuss it with the whole family.
- Plan two safe ways out of every room. Make sure your windows and doors are not obstructed and can be unlocked and opened quickly if necessary.
- Practise your escape plan regularly with the whole family including pets.
- Have a meeting place to wait for the firefighters arrival, the letterbox is a good meeting place.
As you escape close internal doors behind you to reduce the spread of fire and minimise damage.
Remember to consider the special needs of children, the elderly or the disabled when developing your escape plan.
Kitchen Fire Safety
"Keep Looking When Cooking" is a great message from Fire + Rescue NSW, deemed necessary as the leading cause of home fires in NSW is leaving cooking unattended.
Here are some very important fire safety tips for the kitchen:
- Never leave cooking unattended. Stay in the kitchen while cooking and turn off the stove before you leave.
- Don't put anything metallic in the microwave and always double-check the timer.
- Keep matches and lighters out of reaches of children.
- There are many dangerous substances in the kitchen. Store flammable materials such as aerosols, cleaning agents and cooking oils away from heat.
- Avoid cooking under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Keep loose clothing, fabrics, tea towels, curtains and flammable items away from the stove.
- Turn pot handles inwards. Pot handles hanging over the edge of the stove can be easily knocked or grabbed by children.
- Keep your oven, rangehood and grill clean and in good working order. A build-up of grease and fat can ignite in a fire.
Do you know what to do if a pan catches fire?
- Turn the stove off (if safe to do so)
- Use the lid to cover the flame
- Use a fire extinguisher or fire blanket in the first few seconds of ignition if you are confident
- Leave the kitchen, close the door and call 000
- note: never use water to put out a fat or oil fire
Winter Fire Safety Tips
"Cooler months see a 10% increase in the number of home fires, with more fires in bedrooms and loungerooms due to heaters, electric blankets." Fire + Rescue NSW
Here are some important things to remember as we head into the busiest time of year for house fires:
- check your heater each year before you use it and don't use faulty heaters
- keep everything one metre away from a heater or open fire
- don't let children use heaters or play with open fires
- always supervise young children in rooms with heaters or open fires
- clean flues and chimneys regularly
- don't use wheat bags in bed
- avoid using external heating equipment inside your home
- turn off electric blankets and heaters when you're not using them and before going to bed
- keep matches and lighters out of reach of children
- ENSURE YOU HAVE A WORKING SMOKE ALARM!
Electric Blanket Safety Tips
Electric blankets are a potential fire hazard, please use them with caution.
- Don't leave an electric blanket on for a long period of time
- Turn your electric blanket off before going to bed
- Don't turn your electric blanket on or leave your electric blanket on during the day
- Don't pile anything on top of a bed that has an electric blanket on it
- Ensure that your electric blanket is stored correctly, electric blankets should be rolled not folded
- Don't use old electric blankets
- Check connections and never use a faulty electric blanket
- Always ensure you have a working smoke alarm in a place you plan to sleep
Children and Fire Fascination
Fire fascination is a problem with potentially disastrous consequences, often children are unaware that a tiny flame can grow into a dangerous fire, so it is important to educate children of the dangers of fire:
Fire Fascination Safety Tips
- Be aware that children watch and copy behaviours so set a good example around the home in the way you use heaters, open fires and other heat sources.
- Teach your children that fire is a tool, NOT a toy and may be useful when used safely and responsibly.
- Keep lighters and matches secure, out of reach, under lock and key.
- Ensure that all adults in the household know and understand the latest fire safety tips, know how to use and maintain smoke alarms, fire blankets and fire extinguishers and how to call Triple Zero (000) in an emergency.
- Always supervise your children
- Encourage young children to tell an adult if they find matches or cigarette lighters and praise them for doing so.
- Try channelling their energies towards more positive activities such as sport..
- Watch for evidence of fire play such as burns on bedding or clothing, or lighters or matches in their pockets.
- Ensure that your home has sufficient working smoke alarms and consider installing them in all bedrooms / sleeping areas for extra protection.
- Everyone should know what to do if a fire occurs in their home. Take the time to learn about escape plans and remember to include your children in the discussion, planning and practice.
- Teach children fire survival skills such as "Get Down Low and Go, Go, Go!"
- If you have concerns about a child's fire fascination, in NSW dial 1800 600 700
Fire and Rescue NSW runs the Intervention and Fire Awareness Program (IFAP) which provides face-to-face and over-the-phone help for families to understand and manage children's fire-starting behaviour.
Under the Intervention and Fire Awareness Program, parents and carers can ring a free and confidential service to arrange to talk to Fire Intervention Officers. The officers can also work directly with the families to help them understand the issues, suggest strategies and develop an action plan to help make their home safer, and if necessary refer them to other professional help. For further information about the program visit Safety Programs: IFAP.
If you know or suspect that your child has been playing with fire seek help immediately by calling the Fire and Rescue NSW toll-free number 1800 600 700.
Festive Season Fire Safety
As we put up our Christmas Trees and Lights and over the festive season please keep these fire safety tips in mind:
- When setting up fairy lights and other electrical displays use only one item per power socket and don't overload power boards or piggy back double adaptors.
- For maximum safety if you use a power board, ensure it has both overload protection and earth leakage protection devices incorporated.
- Only use decorative lights that have an Australian Standards label and follow manufacturer's instructions on setting up and operating.
- Check lights and electronic decorations for faults, worn plugs and frayed cords. Inspect the plugs and leads and if in doubt replace them.
- Decorative lights may become very hot so keep away from children and flammable materials such as wrapping paper, decorations or curtains and don’t leave burning candles unattended.
- Candles should be used in a safe position away from Christmas Trees or other flammable material and out of reach of children. Extinguish them if you leave the room and always before going to bed.
- Switch off all electrical displays and decorative lights before going to bed.
- Make sure you have a sufficient number of working smoke alarms throughout your home that are tested regularly and are supported by a written home escape plan in case of fire.
(Information sourced or adapted from: Fire + Rescue NSW - thank you)