Fire chief shares tips to keep the home ‘safe’

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CANBERRA firefighters respond to more than 900 house and structure fires every year, and now, with winter items such as electric blankets and heaters being taken out of storage, firefighters urge Canberrans to be aware of the common causes of home fires. 

The acting chief officer ACT Fire and Rescue, Chris Zeitlhofer, says: “As we see the temperature drop, our heaters and clothes dryers turn on [and] Canberrans are inviting friends and family to gather around fire pits or to cook meals.”

“While we want people to enjoy themselves, there’s simple things to keep in mind to keep themselves safe,” he says.

Chris is encouraging Canberrans to take steps within their homes to reduce the risk of a fire starting, such as;

  • Testing electrical appliances and devices, including electric blankets.
  • Cleaning filters in ducted and reverse cycle heaters and dryers.
  • Keeping clothes clear of heaters and excess bedding off electric blankets. Turn off when not being used.
  • Keeping watch of things that commonly cause fire including cooking, open flames and children.
  • Always switch off sources of heating when sleeping or leaving the house.
  • Put out sources of fire when not in use.

It’s also important to ensure homes have a working smoke alarm and each household has a home fire escape plan, Chris says.

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