Are you fire safe this winter?
THE winter chill is beginning and this signals a very dangerous time for Gladstone region residents with house fires becoming more common.
In the past three years, 280 serious house fires were caused by electric blankets and heaters according to RACQ insurance.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Service Gladstone station officer Quinn Cramer said electric blankets, heaters and fires pose the biggest dangers of fire risk.
"We always see an increase in the amount of fires that occur over the winter period," she said.
"But they can be prevented if people take some simple precautions."
These tips can save your and your family's lives.
"Making sure every home has a working smoke alarm installed in the house to be able to catch fires in their initial stages," she said.
"If you are going to use an electric blanket or a heater, make sure it is in good working condition.
"Every year that you get your electric blanket out you must check the cords to make sure they're in good working condition.
Never sleep with your electric blanket, heaters left on or fire going.
"It is extremely important to make sure you don't sleep with the electric blanket turned on," Stn Off Cramer said.
"Make sure you follow the manufacturers instructions for the specific electric blanket you have.
"Also ensure you don't leave heaters on an unattended when you go to bed."
If you are unsure if your electric blanket or heater is ok to use, either throw it away or get it checked by a licensed electrician, Stn Off Cramer said.
"Check the cords for any damage and check over the appliance for any obvious signs," she said.
"Also check the manufacturers instructions for any maintenance or signs for each specific heater or electric blanket."
Children left unsupervised can also pose great dangers.
"If you are using any type of heater, keep clothes or combustible materials well clear of it, so there is no chance of accidentally throwing anything over it to allow it to catch fire," Stn Off Cramer said.
"Ensure that children are supervised at all times around any heaters or electrical equipment."
If you experience a house fire call 000.