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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 ( or the CFA website (, both of which are available in languages other than English.

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