Tags: precautions to avoid household fires.
A glance at the calendar will confirm that Winter is now officially here (I’m sitting here in a short sleeve shirt at 8.30 am with the thermometer reading of twenty- two degrees – go figure) and, as opposed to bushfires, cyclones and floods, there are many Queenslanders who believe that house fires will never happen to them. With this in mind, one only has to consider recent statistics released by Queensland Fire and Emergency Serviced (QFES) to understand the inaccuracy of that belief.
Featured Image(above): Fire Happens Fast – Station Officer Wayne Brown
recommends taking the necessary precautions to reduce fire risk and having
working smoke alarms.
In one Winter period alone, QFES attended 554 house fires and Bribie Island QFES Station Officer Wayne Brown told me that compared to any other time of year, the highest number of structure fires typically occur during Winter. ‘Fire happens fast and occupants only have a small period of time to get out of the building so having an escape plan could mean the difference between life and death,’ said Wayne.
‘It is important for every member of the household to prepare, practice and discuss the escape plan so they all know what to do. When creating an escape plan, people should make sure that there are two ways to exit every room in the house, check that there is a set of spare keys for windows and doors handy and agree on a safe meeting place outside to check that all are safe before calling Triple Zero (000),’ he added. QFES is asking everyone to “Fire Safe a Mate” in order to keep your friends and loved ones safe and so, for those who have friends or family who live on their own or in a share house, it is essential to make certain that they know what to do in the event of a house fire.
They advise regularly practising an escape plan with all in the house and to make the scenario realistic by using a blindfold and crawling on all fours to keep low in case of smoke. Wayne explained that there are many steps to take which will help in reducing the risk of house fires. ‘I would recommend that people have electrical devices such as electric blankets and heating devices checked by a qualified electrician to ensure that they are working properly.
Also, it is essential to avoid placing items too close to heaters and to make sure that appropriate safety precautions are taken when using fireplaces,’ he told me. The very experienced firefighter also remarked that other important ways to reduce the risk of fire include never leaving burning candles or any open flame unattended and to make sure that smoke alarms are functioning correctly.
If there are any residents who would like to know more about fire safety and escape plan tips and practice tests, the Home Fire Safety website is https://www.qfes.qld.gov.au/fireescape/ and the Bribie Island Fire Station can be contacted on 3408 8383.