Is your house a death trap?

ROCKHAMPTON residents play with fire each time they leave home with electrical appliances running, according to a survey.

The 2005 AAMI Firescreen Index found 53 percent of Central Queenslanders left electrical devices, which caused one in five fires, on in their vacated houses with potentially devastating consequences.

It was a common habit to leave washing machines or driers running, and combined with poor appliance maintenance the chances of electrically started fires increased, Queensland Fire and Rescue Service area director Col May said.

Adding the greater use of heaters and electric blankets with winter's arrival, improving resident awareness of the issue was not only prudent but potentially life-saving, he said. "A lot of people do leave appliances switched on at the wall and what we get in Rockhampton where it's dry is a build-up of dirt in them.

"Dirt and dust does contribute to appliance short-out and breakdown.'' Making a house safe from fire was not difficult or expensive, Rock-hampton electrician Brod Gough said.

Installing electrical safety switches and smoke and heat detectors was simple, and obtaining fire blankets and extinguishers good sense, Mr Gough said.

Such changes would cost less than $500.

Mr Gough had installed every fire safety precaution in his own home.

"I've seen the result and effect of people not putting in safety switches and the like.



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