According to Fire and Rescue NSW, 43% of all fire fatalaties occur in winter. Hardly surprising news considering that it is during the winter months that our use of heaters, clothes dryers, electric blankets and other electrical appliances increases as we attempt to keep warm.
Along with the fire safety considerations comes the increased risk of severe burns, particularly for young children.
We've compiled a winter safety checklist to help you get your household ready for the winter chill.
- Install smoke alarms and test them regularly to make sure they're working.
- Have a fire extinguisher and blanket in the kitchen.
- Make sure everyone knows how to safely exit your home if there is a fire.
- Never leave cooking unattended.
- If you have a fireplace, log burner or wood stove, make sure the chimney or flue is clear and always use a screen.
- Test electric blankets on top of the bed for 5 minutes before making the bed - replace it if the cord is frayed or damaged, and never leave them on when no one is home.
- Keep portable heaters well clear of curtains, tablecloths and bedding and turn them off when no one is home.
- Keep wet clothing at least one metre from heaters or fireplaces and never leave them to dry unattended.
- When using a clothes dryer be sure to clean the lint filter each and every time you use it.
- Keep candles well away from flammable materials and always extinguish them (or any open flame) before leaving the room or going to bed. And store matched or lighters in a secure location not accessible to young children.
- Watch young children closely around portable heaters, open fires, log burners or stoves.
- Install a circuit breaker.
Some simple steps will go a long way to reducing your risk or fire or injury.