Use a Qualified Electrician and Avoid House Fires

A Qualified Electrician working on some wiringFire safety is everybody’s concern. A tiny spark can quickly lead to fire-related deaths through burns and/or suffocation. Fires in the home can also cost a huge amount, with many common household items often contributing to the hastened spread of the flames.

Family members, particularly young children, should be taught about simple tips on emergency preparedness and response in case of fire. Awareness and careful forward planning could save your life, or the life of someone you love.

Basic Tips

Installing smoke alarms in your home will minimize the possibility of fire related deaths by about 50 percent. Ensure your equipment is always in good condition and functioning properly at all times. It is best to have these alarms stationed near where you sleep so you are woken up quickly and have time to escape if a fire breaks out.

Playing with matches and lighters should be prohibited among children. Tell them these are not toys. Store them out of sight where they cannot be accessed. Talk to your family, and especially children about what to do in case of a fire. Every household member should know where to go in case of an emergency.

Coaching the children in what to do when they hear the sound of a smoke alarm will give them a better chance of survival. When cooking in the kitchen, limit possible distractions. Don’t leave an open oven or lit stove unattended. Lit candles should be blown out before leaving the room or going to sleep.

Electrical Checklist

A safer home begins with the creation of a checklist of ways to prevent electrical fires and hazards. Loose-fitting plugs or electrical outlets can cause fires. These can be repaired by replacing missing or torn wall plates to prevent exposure of the wiring and its components. Unused outlets should be sealed especially if you have young children at home.

an electrician working on a fuse box in a homeDo not overload outlets with too many adapters or attempt to fit in too many appliance plugs. These may cause a short circuit. For cords, ensure they are not broken or cracked. Do not put them under the carpets or rugs or places where many people walk. Avoid nailing or placing them to the walls, floors or other objects.

Extension cords should only be used temporarily. They are not meant as permanent home installations. They should have safety closures to safeguard young children from potential shock or burn injuries.

When buying light bulbs, check the wattage to ensure they are compatible with your fixture requirements. Bulbs with higher wattage can be replaced according to the minimum requirement.

Install ground fault circuit interrupters in your kitchen, laundry, bathrooms, basement and garage, including outdoor outlets to avoid electric shocks. Ensure they are all functioning correctly.

Circuit breakers and fuses should be accurately rated according to the circuit that they protect. A qualified electrician can assist you in identifying the corresponding circuits and labeling the correct size that will be used.

If an appliance or electronic gadget blows a fuse or gives an electrical shock, unplug it immediately. Do not attempt to use it again unless it is repaired or replaced. Check for the presence of cracks in the wiring and connectors. Surge protectors may be employed to safeguard expensive electronics.

Electrical wiring defects are the culprit for many residential fires. Always check loose wall receptacles, wires or lighting fixtures. Observe whether there is a popping or sizzling sounds in the walls. Turn off and replace switches that easily get hot or light bulbs that spark and flicker periodically.

As you upgrade your home with more sophisticated lighting, electronic gadgets and appliances, your home’s electrical service capacity may be overburdened. If fuses show sparks or flicker, it is about time to increase your electrical service capacity or add branch circuits. Through the help of a qualified or licensed electrician, the appropriate electrical service requirements in your home can be achieved.

Skilled Electrician

A qualified electrician is an expert in the field with the technical background, basic principles and in-depth understanding of electrical systems, wiring and installation. They should be called upon to help you install new electrical plugs in the wall, install new lighting in a room, add wiring behind walls or install solar panels.

Based on your local council’s rules, accurate application of the building regulations is a must. A qualified electrician is a competent individual who has the sufficient technical knowledge, relevant practical skills and electrical work experience to know what to do in your particular situation.

a house on fire

Because we don’t want this happening to your house

A reputable electrician works in the strictest way as a safety precaution. They understand how risky it can be dealing with electricity. A professional electrician will always protect himself using protective equipment, and inspect the fuse box to ensure the wires are dead before starting to work to ensure there is no current in the wires or circuit. They will also conduct several checks throughout the installations to ensure that their work environment remains safe.

For a professional electrician, making a mistake can lead to serious injuries and even death. Settling for inexperienced staff or even trying to DIY electrical work yourself risks the lives of the people in the home. Being prepared for any eventuality is better than waiting for an accident to occur. Injuries can be prevented if you know how to ensure safety measures, and qualified electricians do.

Always consult a professional electrician if you require electrical work to be done in your home or business. This will give you peace of mind, and keep you and your family safe. Faulty wiring has no place in any safe household. While the costs associated with hiring an electrician can be high, the price is worth it to protect the lives of the ones you love.

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Reduce Your Risk – Reduce the Amount of Flammable Chemicals in Your Home

Flamable Liquid SignFire has done amazing things for humanity over the centuries. From providing warmth and heat for cooking to running turbines and engines to create energy and electricity. Through the control and usage of fire and combustion our technologies have advanced exponentially, however we must always remember its highly destructive capabilities. When this natural wonder is allowed to thrive uncontrollably, anything can happen. The regular bush-fires we face here in Australia are a constant reminder of fire’s immense power to consume, destroy, and in worst case scenarios, to kill.

In order to keep your home as safe as possible the age old saying ‘Prevention is better than a ton of cure’, could not be more pertinent. In maintaining fire safety around the home, by keeping flammable items and combustible liquids to a minimum we reduce the risk to our homes and our families. Almost every home in Australia contains a veritable array of flammable chemicals and liquids, unbeknownst to most. By being aware as to where these items are, keeping them in a safe area near a fire hydrant, or just removing them from your home you can greatly reduce the risk should a fire occur at your residence.

Firstly lets take a look at the average person’s kitchen. This is a part of the house where dangerous chemicals are often stored. Detergents, cleaning products, pest control and bug sprays, compressed gas canisters for cooking, and many other everyday household products can be highly flammable. These products can also often be found in the laundry along with additional detergents, sprays, bleach, pet flea and tick treatments, insecticides and other cleaning products. Then we move to the garage where it is common to find paint, spray paints, aerosols, motor vehicle cleaning products, windshield washer fluid and motor oil. Each of these chemicals can be highly combustible that may not only add to a fire if ignited but can also cause explosions.

More of the same can be found in the bathroom: bathroom cleaners, mold and mildew removers, drain cleaners, deodorants, hair sprays etc. In your living room there are rug/carpet/upholstery cleaners, furniture polish, and aerosol can air fresheners. This arsenal of potentially flammable chemical in your home can be the difference between life or death in the 3 minutes or less it can take for a fire to consume your home.

A Fire HydrantWe can offset the risk of using these products in a number of ways. While these precautions may only save you a few minutes or even seconds, they could mean the difference between life and death.

  • When using paints, be it be spray paint or aerosol paints, make sure to buy just enough for your project. Water-based paints are not flammable so use these if possible, and discard any oil-based paints if you don’t need them anymore once your project is complete.
  • When shopping for detergents and cleaning products, ensure you purchase non-toxic chemicals that aren’t flammable. All flammable products should come with a government warning on them to let you know of the potential dangers.
  • Reduce your usage or find other methods so you aren’t reliant on flammable items in the home. Choose roll-on deodorant over spray-on (they’re better for you and the environment too!). Get your pest control done by a local pest control company rather than keeping an array of cockroach, ant and other insect sprays all around your home.
  • Lastly, if you must keep some highly flammable chemicals in the home, try and keep them all in the one spot, away from the bedrooms if possible and near both a fire alarm and a working fire hydrant.

By being aware of where the flammable items in your home are and not having them scattered throughout your dwelling, you dramatically reduce your risk of death should tragedy strike. Ensure all members of your family know where the chemicals and hydrant are being stored, so that they may also be able to take appropriate action in an emergency.

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Don’t Risk a Fire – Recycle Your Old Tyres

Over 20 million waste tyres are generated in Australia every year. This often creates a problem where people don’t know how to dispose of them. Whole tyres are not suitable for landfill for several reasons:

  • They take up large volumes of space in landfills
  • They do not easily compact
  • They can flex back to the top of the landfill after burial

tyrepileThis causes a dilemma where huge numbers of used tyres are left above ground with nowhere to go. While there are many avenues for recycling old wheels, including for use as retreaded tyres, to make rubber derived fuels, for the productions of rubber crumb, for use in arenas or as barriers, for silage production or in landscaping; yet many people choose the cheapest option and illegally dump the tyres or stockpile them in unsuitable areas. This illegal dumping or storage is a huge fire risk as tyres are extremely flammable. While there are large fines for offenders who are caught illegally dumping or stockpiling old, used tyres, many people still do not adhere to the law.

There are numerous problems associated with tyre fires including the toxic fumes that pollute the air, land and water near the fires with the many chemicals that are used in production of the tyres. Stockpiles of unwanted wheels also act as a breeding ground for mosquitoes that can spread disease throughout nearby communities.

As the problems associated with old tyres have become more well known in recent years, many companies working in the car and truck tyre industry have taken it upon themselves to encourage the proper management of tyres within the community. One such company is wholesale tyre distributor DTL. This exporter of Chinese can and truck tyres has actively been encouraging their clients to act responsibly when disposing of old tyres and recycle them whenever possible. DTL Chinese Tyres are not alone in this effort, and many other companies have been doing the same with a whole new industry being born of companies who recycle old tyres and turn them back into usable products.

As more and more people become aware of the environmental hazards associated with tyre fires, we hope that the amount of illegal dumping and stockpiling will be reduced. Increased fines have been somewhat effective but there are still millions of illegally dumped tyres all around Australia. If you see anyone illegally dumping tyres, please get in touch with your local law enforcement agency immediately. The sooner this toxic problem is curbed, the better off we’ll all be.

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Construction in Bushfire Prone Areas

Bushfires are a real threat to many communities throughout South-East Queensland. Although destructive, they has been a natural occurrence in the life-cycle of bushland for millions of years and are still an ever-present danger for citizens. As Brisbane and the outlying suburbs grow, construction companies move further into areas that are bushfire zones. In doing so, it is the obligation of these builders to adhere to the legal requirements for construction in these areas- namely the Planning for bushfire protection AS 3959-2009.Burnt road

This legislation covers all of the requirements for all newly developed domestic and commercial constructions in bushfire territories. In the highest risk areas there are a range of measures that must be implemented when constructing new homes. Concrete slabs are required as they are non-combustible, as is the use of brick veneer or concrete for all exterior walls. Roofing, verandas, and decks must be constructed of similar non-combustible materials. Construction companies should also be aware that sealed wall and roof joints, aluminium blinds or shutters, and toughened glass are a necessity so be sure to ask your developer. They should also use fire resistant door frames, with weather strips, and metal as opposed to plastic for all external trimmings like gutters, pipes, and vents. As construction companies are required to comply with these regulations, the costs to build fire safe homes in these areas can become quite expensive. But if it is to make the difference between life and death, it is the right choice.
These residential building standards apply to all new homes or outbuildings, reconstructions and renovations, repairs to outbuildings such as garages and sheds, and any additions with 6 metres of a dwelling. These requirements to address bushfire protection for developments was introduced in 2002 and has possibly saved many people’s homes due to these extensive measures. It is worth mentioning that any subdivisions such as townhouse developments that were built prior to 2002 may not meet these stringent building requirements. It may be wise to contact the townhouse builders or your local council to check what construction guidelines were used when looking to buy a property in one of these bushfire prone areas.bushfire construction

Asset Protection Zones & Water Supply

Construction in bushfire areas requires the implementation of a range of preventative measures rather than just one simple fix. Another way to make developments more fire safe is to use an asset protection zone. The aim of this is to create a buffer and protect human life, property, and high value assets such as cars. By creating a buffer between the bush and the developments it helps to minimise fuel loads, reduce radiant heat levels, flame danger, and smoke surrounding the property. For new property developments, the buffer zone should be taken into account within the confines of the proposed site. Developments cannot pass this responsibility onto neighbouring land unless approved, and the clearing of land on neighbouring properties, national parks, or local council property cannot be undertaken without prior written approval.

Having an easily accessible water supply is also a key fire safety tool for developments in bushfire zones. Major fires can compromise the delivery of basic services such as electricity and water when needed most. As part of new developments, construction firms may need to outline the provision of certain services. Substantial water supply is required when firefighting and it is a good idea for construction companies to liaise with town planners to ensure adequate supply during a crisis.

For more information on bushfire safety visit the Rural Fire Service Website.

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Smoke Alarm Maintenance – It Could Save Your Life!

Smoke alarm maintenance, while not the most exciting topic, is integral to ensuring the safety of a property and its residents. Legislation has been introduced all around Australia to ensure all rental properties are all fitted with working smoke alarms that get checked regularly, however many home owners still do not have working systems in their homes. These homeowners are putting their lives and the lives of their families at risk. Due to the strict legislation put in place by the Australian Government, property managers are extremely cautious about ensuring the alarms in their rentals are regularly checked and maintained – and for good reason! The thought of having a tenant’s house burn down and them lose all their belongings or worse, is a scary one.

Installing a smoke alarmWe spoke about this topic with rental guardian, Andrew, one of Brisbane’s leading property managers. “We are very cautious that all of the fire alarms in our rental properties are managed and maintained regularly. One dead battery or broken unit might be the difference between life and death. Even a small window of time, say only 3 minutes, could be enough warning for you and your family to get to safety should there be a fire in your home or apartment. We can’t stand the thought of any of our tenants losing their property or their lives, so we are very careful that each of our units is regularly checked even more often than the Queensland legislation requires.” While this legislation varies slightly from state to state the standard across all states and territories is similar and has been put in place to protect the lives of all tenant citizens.

To ensure that the alarm in your home in correctly maintained, even if you are in a rental property that is being managed correctly, test your alarm every few weeks. Most alarms will have a test button on the front, and some will have one on the back. You can press this to ensure the alarm still works and will go off if smoke is present in your home. If your alarm appears faulty try it out with a new battery. If it still doesn’t work replace the unit or contact your rental management agency immediately so they can have a new unit installed.

Also ensure you have sufficient smoke alarms spread throughout your home. High risk areas include the kitchen and bathroom, but fires can start in any part of the home at any time, so all areas should be within close proximity to an alarm. In or around bedrooms are a great place to put alarms because the risk of a fire taking your life is highest while you are sleeping.

Correct installation and maintenance of smoke alarms has saved many lives in the past, and it could save yours too. Make sure you do your part to keep your family, pets and yourself safe this season.

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Safer Lighting around Your Home

LED Flood LightOver the past decade there have been a significant number of fires caused by halogen flood lights and downlights around NSW and all of Australia. Halogen lighting has only come into popular usage since the early 2000s, but these lights create a lot of heat. If halogen floodlights are not set up safely away from flammable items and secured from falling or touching anything that might ignite, fires can easily be started. The same problem can occur with halogen downlights that are not insulated, installed and maintained correctly. These safety issues occur because halogen lights can heat up to temperatures as high as 370C.

If you’re considering installing a flood light or downlights we would recommend considering using LED lights instead of halogen bulbs. LED lighting is newer technology than halogen lighting, and can be manufactured cheaply. LEDs also don’t use as much energy as halogen bulbs and don’t heat up anywhere near as hot. For the safety aspect alone we recommend using LED or solar lights for your floodlights and downlights over halogens, and they’ll also save you a lot of money in electricity bills! A 150W LED bulb is powerful enough to replace a 500W halogen flood light. That’s a massive reduction in electricity usage in just one light fitting! If your interested in LED downlights or solar flood lights, take a look at some different models online and see what bets fits your lighting needs.

If you really must install halogen lighting or already have some installed in your home or office, take a look at our checklist below to ensure you are safe from any electrical issues and potential fires.

Downlight and Floodlight Fire Safety

  • When having the downlights installed, ensure you use a licensed electrician and the lights meet the current Australian Standards.
  • Ensure the downlights or floodlights are never installed near timber e.g. in beam in the ceiling.
  • Make sure the transformers and the lights are not covered by ceiling insulation as the heat from the lights can cause it to ignite.
  • During renovations ensure the any ceiling insulation does not fall on our touch the halogen downlights.
  • Ensure that the movement of cooling air around your downlights is not impaired by thermal insulation or anything else.
  • If using thermal insulation that is not fixed in its position a barrier made of fire-resistant material needs to be installed to maintain clearance in accordance with AS 60598.1 and 60598.2.
  • Regularly check the lights to prevent contact with wind blown debris around the floodlights or in the roof cavity above the downlights.
  • Maintain the lights by checking them regularly and ensure that there has been no damage cause to them or any of the wiring by rats or mice in the ceiling.

Additional Safety Tips

  • Fire alarms will only detect smoke if it is below the alarm, so they won’t detect fires that start above them in the ceiling.
  • Infra-Red coated bulbs and LEDs both use less power (and therefore emit less heat) than halogen bulbs. Consider switching to them instead.
  • Only install lights as bright as you need them. Excess lighting causes excess heat, and that could be the difference between a safe home and an unsafe one.
  • Turn off lights when they’re not being used. Save on electricity and reduce your fire risk.
  • Consider buying covers for your ceiling downlights, they can be purchased for as little as $15.

For more information on halogen downlights, take a look at the Fire & Rescue NSW website here.

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Fire Safety Essentials for Motorhomes and RVs

Did you know there are more than 330,000 caravans and recreational vehicles registered in Australia?

Fire – Our Friend and our Foe

Fire, one of the elements of life, is a powerful and useful tool but also be a destructive force. Misuse or misunderstanding of it can lead to disaster. Bushfires are a major hazard here in Australia. Many Australians families will still remember the series of bushfire that plagued New South Wales in October 2013 (Figure 1).

NSWFire

Figure 1. A photo of the NSW bushfires (from the ABC News Network)

Australia is well known for its beautiful landscape that draws the attention of tourists and locals alike. Many of them like to use their purchase or rent campervans or motorhomes for their travels around. There are currently more than 330,000 caravans and other forms of recreational vehicles registered in Australia.

As a moving home with many electrical and cooking appliances, one of the potential hazards in an RV is a fire. Regardless of whether or not it is involved in a road accident, fire hazard remains a potential hazard. Over the last decade, in New South Wales alone, the NSW Fire and Rescue fire fighters have attended over 1,000 incidents in recreational vehicles, with more than 60 injuries and eight fatalities reported.

Preparing Your Motorhome

Driving a motorhome is just like using another vehicle for the first time. You have to get used to the driving feel and more importantly its specifications and limitations. Find your manual and read over it thoroughly.

Spare some time to inspect the electrical appliances, and pay special attention to the condition of the wiring (see Figure 2). In older RVs just like in older cars, the wiring can be worn out or frayed. If this is the case then it is important to have it repaired immediately. Spend additional time to check for exposed internal wires. If you don’t have time, hiring a professional auto electrician is a good idea. A little expense initially could save you a lot in the long run. Any motorhome or campervan rental company should check over their rental RVs regularly to ensure they are being maintained.

Figure 3. A typical electrical diagram of a motorhome

Figure 2. A typical electrical diagram of a Motorhome

Aside from electrical, gas system should also be checked. Have them regularly tested by an authorized gas-fitter, as the washers and o-rings tend to wear with age, especially in harsh climates like the Australian Outback. Before you begin your trip, double check that all gas valves are shut properly and meet with current legislation.

Next, ensure you have the correct fire safety equipment fitted to your RV (Figure 3). In an emergency it is important to have quick and easy access to your fire extinguishers and fire blanket. Both are best located close to the door. Make sure your extinguisher is kept up to date, because pressure can decrease if unused for long periods. It is always good to test your equipment before taking off on any long road trip.

It is also important to install a smoke alarm fitted with a silent button. Test it before you go to make sure the censor and the battery are in working order.

Get to Know Your Route

Always study your route before you leave, and check for updates as your drive. It is important to be aware of road conditions, nearby emergency facilities, police and fire stations. You can search the route online for any potential disruptions or hazards. On the map, look for emergency facilities (such as fire stations) along the way.

Figure 3. A range of fire and safety equipment for an RV (from Gomakememories website)

Despite the advancement of online social media, information from radio broadcast can still be relied on for the updates on road conditions and hazards. Search for national and regional radio stations along your route that provide emergency road and weather broadcasts, and don’t forget to pack a battery-operated radio in case your RV loses power.

Spare some time to visit the Bureau of Meteorology website for weather reports and any incidents or hazards like bushfires that may affect you on route to your destination.

Learn About your Destination

When planning the fun side of an Outback vacation, it is also important to research the following:

  • Locate emergency exits, possible refuges, and public payphone locations (in case of poor cellular signal). Also plan your parking and know the distance and pathway to the exit.
  • Make sure there is adequate space surrounding the outside of your RV. Fire fighters need at least of 2 metres space between dwellings and 1.2 metre wide pathways to properly do their job.
  • Know the evacuation routes in case of a fire in the RV or bushfires around the camping ground. Also check for fire evacuation routes which should be provided by the camping ground management.
  • Identify at least two exits (door and window) for your evacuation plan should you face a fire in your motorhome, and decide on a common spot outside your RV where everyone can meet. Consider purchasing a window hammer to break the glass if your RV has limited exits.
  • As soon as you settle in, check the condition of all gas pipes and connectors that might have been knocked after driving on rough country roads. Set up your electrical and cooking appliances according to Australian regulation standards.
  • Have a portable radio to monitor weather conditions and fire restrictions that may be announced.
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Homeowner’s Guide to Making Your Rental Fire Safe.

If you are looking to rent your property in Queensland there are a number of building fire safety regulations that you must adhere to. The laws, which are applicable under the Queensland Fire and Rescue Safety Act 1990, apply to all domestic homes in the state, not just the rental sector. When leasing a home, it can be quite confusing for lessors to understand their responsibility for compliance and associated costs. All new developments usually adhere to the regulations upon construction and their project marketing companies like Ray White property marketing Queensland will have all the details about the prescribed fire safety installations for each building they are marketing for developers.

house-fire

From a rental perspective there are four main parties who are responsible; they are:

  • The Owners
  • The Occupiers
  • Individuals – Broad term which encompasses all parties for general fire safety obligations
  • Managing Entities (Real Estate Property Managers or Body Corporates)

There is a resource available from Queensland Emergency Services which is designed to assist owners and occupiers with building safety available here. This is only a guide and it may be worth contacting an authorised company to help with compliance. Some of the obligations include:

  • Certifying that ventilation systems or air flow systems are not altered or tampered with in violation of s13.
  • Displaying fire safety signs in units and within the walkways and staircases of the unit complex
  • Specific obligations for backpacker housing
  • Requirements relating to the construction and development (usually assessed by property development and projects supervisors)
  • Developing a fire and evacuation plan for the new development complex
  • Coordinating the evacuation for every aspect of the building
  • Supplying owners and occupiers updates to any changes made immediately
  • Monitoring the compliance of renters – is the tenant non-compliant? What actions have been taken to prevent risk or injury?

General Tips for Owners Looking to Rent

There are some easy steps to take to make sure your property is fire safety compliant. It is good practice for you to familiarise yourself with your duties under the relevant acts and rules laid out in the rental agreement. Keeping a copy of the compliance audit that was done on the property is a good idea in case of an enquiry. It is also a good idea to work with your property management team to make sure the rental agreement clearly states the responsibilities and costs associated with fire safety for each party. Some other notable areas to investigate include:

  • Insurance
  • Start and end dates of the tenancy
  • Common area usage
  • Storage compliance

Records of ALL fire safety documents should be held by your property marketing office or yourself including but not limited to; fires safety installations, maintenance of fire safety devices (such as smoke alarms and sprinklers), occupier agreements to uphold fire safety standards (such as property maintenance that affects fire safety like cleaning gutters and keeping vegetation away from the house etc.) Lots of Renters tend to let the yards and exterior of properties in Queensland go unattended. This can be a real concern for owners, especially during bush fire season. It is a good idea to highlight these maintenance requirements if your home is in an area prone to bush fires.

Being fire safe doesn’t have to be a complicated process and there is many companies who are able to assist with these areas such as the property management team at Ray White. If you do wish to lease the property privately, contact the Queensland Fire Brigade and the Department of infrastructure for assistance. More fires safety for rentals information can be found here.

 

This information is provided as a general guide to the subject discussed. Specialist advice should be obtained for your circumstances.

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Fire Safety- making your home fire safe!

A fire can take hold in 3 minutes, but it only takes seconds to learn how to prevent one. Some easy things to remember that will make you fire safe are:

  • Always turn off the stove before leaving the kitchen. You might forget and leave the house otherwise
  • Move appliances away from anything that could potentially catch fire. For example, putting your toaster near the curtains in your kitchen is not a good idea.
  • If you feel it necessary to dry your clothes with a heater, make sure they are far enough away that even if the clothes fall over they will not reach the heating elements
  • Don’t overload power sockets. Having multiple power adaptors and power boards drawing from one outlet is a potential risk. Spread out your appliances to different areas of the house.
  • Candles and naked flames are unpredictable, wind can make flames jump to other areas of a room and unextinguished candles can melt down and catch fire to a range of surfaces. All it takes to be fire safe is blowing it out before you leave.

If there is a fire, a smoke alarm is one of the key items that will save your life. The NSW fire brigades recommend that all citizens purchase buy and install photoelectric smoke alarms that meet the highest Australian standard. It is also a good idea to:

  • Test your smoke alarm every month by simply pushing the test button on the device.
  • Don’t install your smoke alarm directly above your oven in the kitchen or in the bathroom as this will increase the possibility of false alarms.
  • If there is a fire, call triple zero (000) from a location that is away from the fire so you are safe, and wait for the fire brigades to arrive.
  • Replace the batteries in your smoke alarms every year with heavy duty, long lasting alkaline batteries.

Escape plans are another vital part of fire safety and are essential if you have children in the house as you may not always have access to their rooms in the event of a fire. Drawing an escape plan for the house and practicing its’ execution with all the residents will help prepare you and your family. Make sure you can easily open windows and screens in your house otherwise you could become trapped. Remember, if your house catches fire, stay low to avoid smoke inhalation, get out of the house and stay out at a safe distance. Never go back into a burning building NO MATTER WHAT. It is also important to arrange a safe zone outside the house. Usually near the post box is a safe distance.

Calling Triple Zero (000) is the fastest way to get a hold of emergency services as works from mobiles, landlines, and pay phones. Two way radios offer limited communications for emergencies, however channel 5 is typically the emergency channel for UHF however this is not always monitored. If you are in a rural area and only two way radios are available try sending distress calls on channels 1-20.

By keeping everyone in your household informed of the procedures in the event of a fire, you are well on your way to being fire safe!

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