Is Your Family Ready For a House Fire?
Between May 2020 and July 2020, there were 65 house fires in the South Eastern Region of Queensland (source).
Assistant QFES Commissioner Kevin Walsh has asked for families to check appliances like heaters and to make sure they have a fire escape plan.
“There is very little time between hearing your smoke alarm and making an escape, so it’s essential the entire household knows how to make their way out of the building in a safe and timely manner.” Mr Walsh said.
Preventing house fires is the best place for a family to start when it comes to fire safety. There are a few things you can do today to reduce your risk and help to keep your family safe. Consider these main safety points and then follow The Queensland Fire and Emergency Services 3 main steps to help prevent fires and save lives in the event of a fire.
- Check your smoke alarms work
- Never leave candles unattended
- Don’t have flammable items near your cooktop (consider putting a fire extinguisher in your kitchen – here is a guide on what sort to buy)
- Be mindful of loose-fitting clothes near heaters and stoves (consider buying low flammable pyjamas for the kids)
- Keep heaters away from curtains, beddings and couches. (don’t let the kids sit too close to the heater)
- Check gas appliances and their cords regularly
- Place screens in front of fires
- Ensure heater cords aren’t a tripping hazard
- Clean your dryer filter after every use
- Don’t overload power points
Step 1. CHECK your smoke alarms work
When was the last time you checked all the smoke alarms in your house? Walk throughout your home and check every single alarm to ensure they are less than 10 years old and working. If they aren’t working and are older than 10 years old, you should upgrade them to photo-electrical alarms that are preferably interconnected- so when one goes off, they all do. To find out how many smoke alarms you need in your home and what type of smoke alarms you need (whether you own or rent), read this guide.
Step 2 CREATE a home fire escape plan.
Does your family have a fire escape plan? Being ready to respond in the event of a fire is crucial. Get the whole family involved in making an escape route and understanding what everyone needs to do in the event of a fire. Follow these steps to make your family fire escape plan.
Step 3 PRACTISE so everyone knows their role.
Practising your fire escape plan will ensure that if a fire happens, everyone knows what they need to do.
- Practise at different times of the day and night
- Practise your escape blindfolded, standing and on all fours
- Use a timer to create a sense of urgency.
- Let children hear how loud your smoke alarm is, so they don’t panic during a real escape – either when testing your smoke alarms or by playing a sound effect from your mobile device.
- Check the spare keys are in place for any deadlocked doors or windows and in reach for everyone.
The Queensland Fire and Emergency Service offer a guide to making a fire escape plan that is family-friendly, called Queensland’s Great Escape supported by this handy downloadable guide. The importance of creating a fire escape plan and practising is essential. The younger your kids are, the more times you should be running through a practise escape to ensure everyone knows what they need to do.
If you want further information about fire safety, you can find more resources on the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services website https://www.qfes.qld.gov.au/