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Home fires on the rise due to small mistakes

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30 May 2016
The number of avoidable house fires in Victoria is increasing

Home fires on the rise due to small mistakes

There are hidden horrors lurking in every Victorian home. They are disguised in many forms, from the humble hairdryer, to the heater, and even your mobile phone.

The number of avoidable house fires in Victoria is increasing.

Last year, firefighters from MFB and CFA attended 3211 preventable house fires - that's an average of eight every day and 41 more than the previous year (3170).

Although the causes vary – from dinner left to burn on the stove to overcharged laptops or clothing left to dry too close to a heater – all fires had one thing in common: a small mistake had serious consequences.

Today, the two fire services are uniting to raise awareness of the common causes of house fires and how to avoid them.

In 2015, 41 per cent of preventable house fires started in the kitchen, 9 per cent in the lounge room and 7 per cent in the bedroom.

The most common causes of fire were unattended cooking (18%), heating (13%), smoking and faulty electrical appliances.

"Most preventable house fires are triggered by a simple, avoidable mistake," said MFB Acting Chief Officer David Youssef.

"A moment of distraction, carelessness or neglect which can have lifelong impacts.

“There were 3,211 preventable house fires in Victoria last year, but there would be many more close calls which go unreported.

“Small mistakes can cause fires, so don’t run the risk.”

CFA Chief Officer Joe Buffone said despite common misconceptions, more people were killed in preventable house fires than in bushfires in 2015.

“There are hundreds of ‘safe mistakes’ that Victorians make every day without thinking,” he said.

“But because they don’t have serious consequences, they largely go unnoticed.

“We’re asking people to think about those other small mistakes as well – things like overloading your power boards, or burning candles too close to the curtains – which can all have serious consequences.

“We want people to think twice before putting their homes and their families at risk.”

Launching this morning at Federation Square, the Safe Mistake Zone Campaign invites members of the public to make a safe mistake, like posing for an embarrassing photo in the Safe Mistake Zone photo booth, or getting a bad temporary tattoo or eccentric hairstyle.

Firefighters will be on hand to provide tips about unsafe mistakes and hidden causes of home fires, such as overheating laptops or hair straighteners.

The fire agencies are also launching the new Safe Mistake Zone website; a home fire safety ‘hub’ where people can challenge the firies in the new safe mistake game, download useful resources, and find out how many house fires occurred in their local area in 2015.

Remember, small mistakes can cause house fires, so don’t run the risk.

To find out more visit .  

Key facts and statistics

•             In 2015 there were 3211 preventable house fires in Victoria, up from 3170 in 2014. That’s more than eight each day.

•             In 2015, nine people died in preventable house fires.

•             The total property loss was $74.7 million.

•             Almost a half of all residential fires in Victoria occur in household kitchens.

•             Most house fires are caused by someone making a mistake – a moment of carelessness, forgetfulness or neglect.

•             Children under five and people aged 65 years or older are twice as likely as the rest of the population to die in a residential fire.

Interesting fire causes in 2015                                    Number

Unattended cooking                                                   579

Faulty electrical appliances                                         268

Faulty electrical distribution                                        247

Central heating                                                          72

Heaters                                                                     158

Laptops and portable electronic devices                        28

Smoking                                                                    170

Candles                                                                      86

Chimneys and flues                                                     143


– ENDS –

Media Contacts:

MFB Communications Advisor Belle Nolan 0457 170 998

CFA Media 1300 CFA MEDIA




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