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Winter house fires on the increase

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01 Oct 2009
Alarming statistics show that residential fires in the Metropolitan Fire District for the winter fire season increased by 8.3 per cent (from 469 to 508) when compared to last year.

Some of these fires had particularly devastating outcomes, including the death of a man in his Ascot Vale home in June; a narrow escape for a Croydon woman who was rescued by MFB firefighters from her blazing home in July, and a Meadow Heights home that was totally destroyed while the family were overseas on holidays in August.

Commander Frank Stockton, Manager Community Education says he is disappointed to see this increase in residential fires.

“I can’t stress how vital it is that every home has working smoke alarms,” said Commander Stockton.

“Smoke alarms have proved vital countless times in saving lives and I dread to think what might have happened had a fire in Sunshine West in June occurred at night.”

Statistics show fires starting outside the home (47 per cent) and in lounge areas (22 per cent) have seen the largest increases. Fires started by unattended appliances are also up by 35 per cent.

Another aspect to house fires that is often overlooked, is the fact that they also cause great disruption.

In most cases, the damage caused is more extensive than just the area burned; smoke and structural damage to the home often leaves occupants displaced while clean-up and rebuilding takes place.
This can sometimes take weeks, even months. It can also be very unsettling.

A few simple steps can help you safeguard your home and protect your family:

  • Never leave heaters on when you leave the house or go to bed\
  • Never leave cooking unattended, always turn it off before you move away
  • Switch off your electric blanket before you go to sleep
  • Don’t run electrical cords under carpets or rugs
  • Test your smoke alarm to ensure it is working
  • Have a home fire escape plan in place

For more information please contact: MFB Media & Communications on 9665 4699 or media@mfb.vic.gov.au

 

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