Fire safety a hot topic
10PM: WITH the heater on high and electric blanket going to keep you warm on that cold winter's night it seemed like nothing could possibly go wrong as you fell asleep in your cosy oven-like room.
2AM: You awoke to the screeching of your fire alarm to find that an electrical fault in your heater had started a fire.
When you were questioned regarding the appliance you recalled not having it professionally tested.
This is a scenario that is all too common during winter and easy enough that it could happen to anyone.
As winter begins to near and the temperature starts to drop do not let yourself or your family get caught out by faulty appliances.
Warwick Fire Station station officer Michael Coombes said people need to be proactive about organising their winter fire safety.
"Chimneys certainly need to be cleaned, either professionally or thoroughly by their users, and open fireplaces must have a wire guard around them to stop flying sparks or children getting too close to the open flames," he said.
"Only hardwood should be used as fuel - nothing treated because it can release a dangerous chemical - and fire extinguishers should be used to put out any open fires before leaving them.
"Also make sure all fire alarms are tested and working.
"Electric blankets and heaters should be professionally tested before use to ensure all wiring is still in good condition and areas surrounding heaters should be kept clear of anything that could potentially catch fire."
If property owners or renters are unsure about their home's a winter fire safety assessment done by local fire-fighters can be requested as part of the Operation Safe Home campaign by calling 1300 369 003 or visiting fire.qld.gov.au.
The process takes about 30 minutes and is free.
Bureau of Meteorology meteorologist Kevin Hutchins predicts we will have time to get winter-ready.
"I would say it will be at least the second half of April before we see temperatures start to cool towards their May average of 7-8 degrees overnight."
Five safety tips:
- Get all winter electrical appliances professionally tested before use.
- Ensure your chimney is properly cleaned.
- Test all smoke alarms to ensure they are working properly.
- Have a fire extinguisher on hand.
- Do not dry or put clothing or blankets over heaters.