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House Fires

CFA attends more than 1000 house fires every year in regional Victoria.

The common causes of house fires are:
  • Unattended cooking
  • Faulty wiring
  • Clothes dryers
  • Heaters and electric blankets
  • Candles and oil burners
  • Smoking in bed
A person is 60 percent less likely to survive a house fire without a working smoke alarm, so it is important to have a working smoke alarm and a clear and rehearsed escape plan.
Preventing the Risk of Home Fire

Heaters and other appliances
  • Before every winter have chimneys and flues cleaned
  • Make sure all heaters are installed, maintained and operated according to manufacturer's instructions
  • Ensure fire screens are always placed in front of open fires and heaters
  • Place items that could catch fire, like clothing and curtains, at least one metre away from heaters
  • Make sure children are supervised near all types of heating
  • Turn off portable heating and extinguish open fires before going to bed or leaving the house
  • Ensure appliances are in good working order (using damaged electrical equipment and appliances can result in a fire)
  • Do not overload power boards and replace damaged equipment
  • Clean the lint filter in tumble dryers after each use
 In the Kitchen
  • Never leave cooking unattended and turn cooking appliances off when leaving the room
  • Keep curtains and tea towels well away from the toaster and stove
  • Turn pot handles inward so they can't be knocked over
  • Ensure children are supervised in the kitchen and kept away from the stove top and the oven
  • Keep a fire blanket and extinguisher in the kitchen, and know how to use them
 In the Bedroom
  • Never smoke in bed as it is extremely dangerous
  • Turn electric blankets on no more than 30 minutes before getting into bed and turn them off once in bed
  • Remove heavy items (including pets) from the bed when the electric blanket is turned on
  • Install smoke alarms inside every bedroom where someone sleeps with the door closed
 Smoke Alarms
  • Ensure there is at least one smoke alarm on each level of your home
  • Vacuum smoke alarms at least once a year to keep vents clean
  • Change smoke alarm batteries at the beginning and end of daylight savings each year
  • Tested smoke alarms each month (a broom handle can be used to reach the test button)
  • Replace the battery immediately if your smoke alarm beeps intermittently (as it is going flat)
  • Replace any smoke alarm (including those connected to mains electricity) that is more than 10 years old
Be Prepared
  • Develop and practise a home fire escape plan
  • Know at least two ways to get out of the house if there is a fire
  • Keep keys in the deadlock and never deadlock yourself inside
  • Designate a safe meeting point outside your home 
  • Keep matches and lighters out of reach of children
More information about house fires can be found at the Home Fire Safety website (www.homefiresafety.com.au) or the CFA website (www.cfa.vic.gov.au), both of which are available in languages other than English.
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