At a media event held in Shepparton today, Fire Services Commissioner, Craig Lapsley and Hume Region firefighters reminded Victorians to help vulnerable family, friends and neighbours prepare for and know what to do if a fire breaks out in their home.
Audio of District 22 Operations Officer Peter Brereton speaking at the campaign launch below.Sounds from Thursday morning by cfavic
They invited media into the home of a Shepparton Tarcoola Villages resident to lead a “hot-spots” tour looking at key areas of the home, including the bedroom and electric blankets, the kitchen and location of smoke alarms.
Community Safety Manager for CFA’s Hume Region, Darren Viney, said it is especially important to lend a hand to older people living alone because they’re more at risk of being injured or killed by a fire in the home.
“In the past 10 years there have been 164 fatalities from residential fires and countless injuries. Most of those who lost their lives were over 65 and most lived alone” he said.
CFA has attended an average of around six fires each day so far this winter.
“Compared to last winter there has been a drop in the number of fires caused by people leaving their cooking unattended but we have seen an increase in the number of fires caused by heating – including heaters and open fires – and electrical faults,” he said.
CFA Chief Officer Euan Ferguson said most fatal fires in Victoria occur in people’s homes and, sadly, most of them can be prevented.
“It’s not hard to keep yourself, your family and your home safe so there’s really no excuse,” he said.
“Reduce the risks throughout your home. For example, keep at least a one-metre-clear space around heaters and open fires, keep screens in front of fires, check your electric appliances for broken or worn wiring, and make sure your smoke alarm is working.”
“Importantly, make sure you and those around you know what to do if a fire does start – chat with your neighbours, duck round to your grandparents’ to help them plan how to escape a fire in their home, practise your own escape plan,” Mr Ferguson said.
He encouraged older people living alone, or those caring for them, to install more than one smoke alarm in their home to increase early warning of a fire, and to keep passageways and exits uncluttered.
“Test how safe your home is by visiting homefiresafety.com.au or calling 1800 799 203.”
Of the 320 residential fires CFA has attended to date this winter (1 June – 18 July), 31 per cent started in the kitchen, 15 per cent in the lounge room and 10 per cent in the bedroom.
Leaving cooking unattended and heating malfunctions (including open fires) have been the main cause of home fires attended by CFA so far this winter, each responsible for 19 per cent of incidents. Electrical faults have been responsible for 14 per cent of incidents.
Top tips for being fire safe in your home this winter:
• Complete a simple fire safety check list
• Plan and practice your fire escape plan with your family
• If a fire starts, get out and stay out. Call 000
• Make sure your smoke alarm is working
• Dry your clothes at least a metre away from heaters
• Use fire screens on open fires
• Put fires out and turn off heaters before going to bed