QFES turns down the heat on fires this winter

PUTTING a stop to fire fatalities and burns is something all Gladstone householders can warm to.

As winter kicks in, authorities urge residents to make their homes fire safe.

Heaters, stoves and other appliances caused 128 house fires across the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service's central region last year. The region covers Rockhampton, Gladstone and Mackay.

Across Queensland, 15 people died in house fires last year and nine of those deaths were during winter.

There were 1905 residential blazes statewide.

QFES Inspector Graeme Hall said winter was the worst time for house fires.

However, he said a few simple measures, like making sure your smoke alarms work, could make all the difference.

"During the winter months, especially if you don't have a properly working smoke alarm, there is a higher chance that people can perish in those fires," Inspector Hall said. "Many of the house fires that happened around Queensland last year were caused by faulty electrical equipment."

Inspector Hall said it was vital to use heaters safely.

"Some people will place a heater too close to flammables in the house," he said.

"Or they will put it in a closed room during a really cold night and during the night it will get quite hot.

"They'll actually throw the doona off and it will fall across the top of the heater and that will smoulder and catch on fire."

Inspector Hall urged Rockhampton residents to replace old electrical appliances and smoke alarms.

"Old appliances will have thermostats that don't work properly and the first time you're aware of this is when it causes a fire," he said.

"Some people have heaters that are 20 or 30 years old and they don't work so well.

"And make sure you have a properly working smoke alarm."

DON'T BURN UP

Queensland Fire and Emergency Service tips to stay safe this winter:

  • Make sure your smoke alarms' batteries work.
  • Replace older items such as heaters, electric blankets and smoke alarms.
  • Make sure nothing flammable can fall on heaters.
  • Turn heaters and other electrical items off when you are not using them.
  • If in doubt, ask for a free Queensland Fire and Emergency Service's assessment of your home's safety.


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