A Spate Of Blazes In NSW Triggers Urgent Winter Fire Safety Warning

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2 July 2014

Master Electricians Australia (MEA) has today issued an urgent warning to New South Wales residents to take extra precautions with fire safety this winter, following a number of recent fires throughout the state.

The warning comes after firefighters rescued eighteen backpackers illegally squatting in an Alexandria industrial complex overnight.

MEA NSW State Manager Jody McGann said Fire and Rescue NSW expected to attend to more than 1350 fires by the end of Winter.

“More people die as the result of fires in Winter than any other time throughout the year,” Ms McGann said.

“The winter season brings more fire hazards into the household due to the higher usage rates of electrical appliances such as electric blankets and heaters.

"It is extremely important that home owners identify the risks involved with winter house fires and are aware of them.”

Fire and Rescue NSW responded to more than five serious house fires in one day alone last weekend.

Ms McGann said the most important things to remember when staying warm was to ensure that all electrical items meet Australian standards, are undamaged and are used in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions.

“Home owners need to ensure that all electrical items used are deemed as safe to be used in this country and are not damaged in any way or they could pose a fire risk,” she said.

“Any electrical item that is damaged, including electric blankets and heaters, should be thrown away and a replacement sought. Make sure someone else is not at risk by cutting off the plug or bending the pins of the plug out of shape.

“As a safeguard, home owners should have safety switches fitted on every circuit. Safety switches will cut the power to a circuit in just milliseconds – quicker than the critical phase of a heartbeat and fast enough to prevent electrocution or fires from faulty appliances.

“They can sometimes be the crucial difference between life and death and provide the greatest level of protection for families, as well as greatly reduce the risk of a house fire occurring.”