Faulty winter products pose ‘serious’ risks

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THE drop in temperature comes with a warning from the ACT Fair Trading commissioner, David Snowden, who says injuries across Australia rise as a result of faulty, damaged or incorrectly used heating products. 

Each year, according to ACT Fair Trading, multiple children are admitted to hospital with burns sustained from clothing catching fire and more than 50 people across Australia die from house fires.

Mr Snowden says products designed to keep people warm, such as heaters and electric blankets, which are coming out of storage or being purchased, pose a safety risk if used or stored incorrectly, and can also become unsafe when used together, or with other products.

“It’s important that Canberrans carefully check products for any faults or damages before using them. Always read the manufacturer’s instructions before first use and keep them for future reference,” Mr Snowden says.

“Keep your heater clean and avoid build-up of dust and debris within the heater enclosure. If your electrical heater repeatedly blows a fuse or has given you a shock, you should disconnect it immediately and have it repaired by a licensed electrician or replace it – never use damaged heaters.

“Anyone with open-flued gas heaters should have them checked immediately by a licensed gas fitter who can test for carbon monoxide spillage. If gas heaters are faulty, poorly maintained or don’t get enough air to operate, they won’t burn the gas properly.

“In extreme cases they will emit toxic carbon monoxide and other lethal gases which can’t be seen and have no smell. Carbon monoxide poisoning can happen in any home or building which uses gas heating, including newer homes, and can cause death or chronic illness.

“Hot water bottles are used widely for warmth and to help ease pain, but they can cause serious burns if left on the body for too long. Never lean or sit on a hot water bottle and always use a fitted cover or wrap the bottle with a towel.”

For more information and tips on staying safe this winter visit act.gov.au/accessCBR

 

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