Winter Fire Safety Checklist

 Statistics reveal that almost half of all home fires are started in the kitchen and 43% of all fire fatalities occur in winter. How do you know if your home is winter fire safe? The Below Checklist is from the NSW Fire and Rescue website;

Is your home winter fire safe?

We recommend this simple safety checklist to help keep homes fire safe this winter. Make sure you and everyone in your household follows the following safety advice:

  • Most importantly, have an adequate number of suitable smoke alarms installed throughout your home and make sure that you test them regularly.
  • Make sure you and all your family know two safe ways out of every room in your home.
  • Have a written home escape plan in case of fire and practice it regularly.
  • Never ever leave cooking unattended.
  • If you have a fireplace in your home make sure the chimney is clean.
  • If you have a fireplace always place a screen in front of it when in use.
  • Check electric blankets for damage or frayed cords before placing on the bed.
  • Take care to keep curtains, tablecloths and bedding away from portable heaters.
  • Keep wet clothing at least 1 metre from heaters or fireplaces and never leave unattended.
  • If you use a clothes dryer make sure you clean the lint filter each and every time you use it.
  • Only use one appliance per power point and switch off when not in use.
  • Always extinguish candles or any other open flames before going to bed.
  • Always handle candles or any other open flame with care.
  • Store matches or lighters in a secure place not accessible to young children.

Winter Fire Safety Tips

  • To test an electric blanket lay it flat on top of the bed, then switch it on for five minutes before putting it on the bed for use to confirm it is okay.
  • Use only authorised installers of fixed heating appliances.
  • Oil, gas or wood heating units may require a yearly maintenance check.
  • Only use fuses of recommended rating and install an electrical safety switch.
  • If possible, in the kitchen keep a fire extinguisher and fire blanket placed near the exit.
  • Never leave burning candles or any open flame unattended



What is an E.D.I.T.H ? Exit/Escape Drill In the Home.


 Exit/Escape  Drills In The Home can help people prepare for an emergency. Most home fires occur at night,  when people are the least prepared.  Home fires can become a disaster if you and your family are not familiar with how to escape during an emergency.


To design your own fire escape plan, sketch the floor plan of your home on a piece of paper. Indicate on the plan all doors, windows and other areas from which you could escape from each room in your home. Draw arrows to indicate the normal exits which would be your primary escape route. With an alternate color, draw arrows to indicate a secondary exit from each room in the home.


An example of an exit flaw Plan


Choose a location outside the home where family members should meet once they have safely escaped. A neighbor’s front yard or sidewalk may be an ideal meeting place.


Your fire escape plan may look great on paper, but does it really work? Regular exit drills in the home will allow you to test the plan and make adjustments as needed. When practicing your exit drills in the home, remember to use alternate escape routes as well. Children should be closely supervised during drills in the home and no one should take unnecessary chances. 


People with physical or mental handicaps face greater risks during a fire emergency. People with special needs should sleep in a bedroom near someone who can help in the event of an emergency. A physically handicapped person may require a sleeping area on the ground floor. Design a special escape plan based on the abilities of the person.

Source from



Know your fire extinguishers

A fire extinguishers can be your first line of defence before a fire can really take hold. Knowing the right equipment to use and having it available can make the difference between some fire damage or a complete loss.

There are several types of extinguishes available for consumers to buy. Understanding the purpose of its design is very important.

Click on the below chart to show the correct extinguisher type for the appropriate fire class.

Change your clock, change your smoke alarm battery

Daylight savings ends on Sunday 7th April 2013


Like everything in this world, things get older and don’t work quite as well as they should. It is the same for smoke alarms.

Smoke alarms have a 10 year life. After this time the efficiency of the alarm declines in doing the job it was designed to do. This can be due to accumulation of dust, insects, contamination and corrosion of the electrical circuitry. This applies to all smoke alarms whether or not they are powered by 240 volts or 9 volt batteries.

The most common smoke alarm fitted to homes is the ionisation smoke alarm. These are the ones with the yellow sticker with the radiation symbol on them. These alarms were the most available and affordable at the time. Thankfully there is better technology and improved reliability in smoke alarms these days and replacing all alarms over 10 years old gives you the opportunity to take advantage of these.

The fire services of NSW and the Australian Fire and Emergency Services Authority Council recommend the installing of Photo Electric Smoke Alarms. These alarms have the advantage of being:

  • less prone to false alarms(burnt toast) therefore people will not disconnect or remove batteries to avoid these
  • able to detect smouldering fires. Smouldering fires are fires where there is no flame but heat that produces large quantity of poisonous gases. These will continue to build up heat and smoke till it reaches a temperature when it will produce a flame and then rapid combustion will take place. These may occur in electrical equipment, lounges and bedding material as some examples. These types of fires are the main cause of deaths in homes as they can occur at night when families are asleep.
  • they do not contain a radioactive element.

 So what’s your home like? Do you live in a two level home with only the staircase as your exit from up stairs? Do you sleep with your bedroom door closed? Do you have a higher level of security that would hamper your exit from your home in the event of a fire? Are some of the occupants disabled or elderly and as such would have difficulty exiting the house in case of a fire?

Where to place smoke alarms

Where to place smoke alarms

Since May 2006, legislation requires that all homes in NSW have a smoke alarm fitted to each level of the home but this is the minimum requirement. Fire Services recommended the fitting of photo electric smoke alarms to all bedrooms and the escape route from your home- hall ways, stair wells- and that they are all interconnected so when one alarm senses a fire they all activate.

When you go to purchase your new smoke alarms it can be a daunting experience when confronted by shelves of different smoke alarms at varying prices. It is worth taking your time and buying the correct photo electric smoke alarm to suit your situation. There are even battery powered photo electric smoke alarms that do not require battery replacement as they fitted with a 10 year life battery. At the end of the 10 years you replace the whole unit. Choice magazine have done some testing and have published the results here:

Article1 – Review

Article 2 - Buying Guide

When installing the photo electric smoke alarms they should be mounted on the ceiling at least 10 cm from the walls and then tested at least once per month. Get the kids to do this so as to create an understanding of what the photo electric smoke alarms are for. Also get the whole family involved in an escape plan for your home. See the following for some ideas.

As always, if you live in the Arcadia, Fiddletown, Berrilee area and require further information, you can contact James Baird on 0415 969 900 or

Barbeque safety

At any time of the year the BBQ is a great occasion for friends and families getting together. People forget the hazards that surround BBQs, and in particular LPG/Natural Gas BBQs.


Combinations of a social environment with open fire or highly flammable gasses could quickly result in severe injury, property damager or death.

Tips for having a safe BBQ.

  • Be aware of, and ensure that you comply with, any fire restrictions that may be in place such as total fire bans
  • Ensure that your barbeque is serviced and maintained correctly including scheduled pressure testing of any gas cylinders and checking of the condition of all hoses and connections
  • Carry out a check of the cylinder for rust or damage and ensure any connections are correctly tightened on gas barbeques before lighting
  • Always site a barbeque on a firm, level base sheltered from wind gusts and well away from anything flammable like garden sheds, vegetation, fences etc
  • Have a garden hose or similar continuous supply of water available at all times
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions and use the correct start up and shut down procedures
  • Ensure that the lit barbeque is in the care of a responsible adult at all times
  • Never put any flammable liquid on a barbeque
  • Keep children away from any barbeque and remember to remove and secure any lighters and matches
  • Only use a barbeque in a well ventilated area as fumes and gases emitted may be harmful
  • If a gas leak does occur shut off the cylinder immediately and allow any gas to dissipate

Fire safety tips

  • Remember that LPG is flammable, heavier than air and may remain in areas for some time
  •  You may want to consider having a fire extinguisher nearby for emergencies
  • Use alcohol responsibly around barbeques
  • Clear the surrounding area of combustibles before lighting a barbeque
  • Allow hot ashes or coals to cool for 48 hours before removing them
  • Home fire safety is important for the whole family and preparation can prevent a tragedy

Information C/- Fire Rescue NSW 2012