Fire Safety in the Home

With the onset of winter the public are reminded of fire safety and the need to take care when using home heating appliances. By following a few simple suggestions you can make you home a safer place in the winter. Remember it takes just three minutes for a fire to take hold, but only seconds to prevent one.


Heaters & Open Fires

In the cooler months there is a 10% increase in the number of home fires, with more fires in bedrooms and lounge rooms due to heaters, electric blankets.


How to Prevent Electrical Fires

  • Don’t overload powerpoints and powerboards.
  • Regularly check electrical leads for damage and faults.
  • Never use faulty electrical leads or appliances.
  • Store your electric blanket safely – roll don't fold.
  • Before going to bed, turn off all electrical appliances at the powerpoint.
  • Turn off electric blankets and heaters when you’re not at home and before getting into bed.


Prevent Fires from Heaters & Open Fires

  • Keep everything at least one metre away from your heaters.
  • Install and use heaters as per manufacturer’s instructions.
  • If you suspect a fault, have the heater serviced or replace it.
  • Always supervise young children in rooms with open fires or working heaters. 
  • Ensure flues and chimneys are regularly cleaned.
  • Strong fire screens should be set up in front of open fires.
  • Never use wheat bags in bed.


Prevent Fire from Clothes Dryer

  • Clean your lint filter before or after each use.
  • Ensure there is adequate air flow around your dryer.
  • Don’t leave the dryer operating when you’re not home.


Prevent Fires from Cigarettes & Candles

  • Keep candles away from curtains and other furnishings and don’t leave them unattended.
  • Don’t leave children unattended a candle is being used and keep matches and lighters out of reach of children.
  • Extinguish cigarettes properly before disposal.
  • Never smoke in bed.


Home Escape Plan

Having a home escape plan in conjunction with a working smoke alarm will greatly increase your chances of getting out safely. Every second counts. Teach children by practising the escape plan and remembering the “Emergency Get out Stay Out” as well as to call Triple Zero (000).


Carbon Monoxide from Open Fires

Did you know that the use of external heating equipment inside your homes. This type of equipment typically uses briquettes or lpg as a fuel source they aren’t suitable for indoor use. This can lead to a build-up of carbon monoxide which can be fatal. Remember that all heating devices should be used strictly in accordance with manufacturer's recommended practices.


Home Fire Safety Audit

You can assess your home fire awareness and identify fire risks throughout your home by undertaking this online self assessment tool


Things to Remember

  • When you’re asleep you won’t smell the smoke from a fire.
  • Electrical appliances and electrical faults cause almost 40% of home fires.
  • You’re twice as likely to die in a home fire if you don’t have a working smoke alarm.
  • Heaters, cigarettes and candles are common causes of fire.
  • Half of residential fires start in the kitchen, mostly due to unattended cooking.
  • Smoke Alarm Householders are urged to change their smoke alarm batteries when they change their clocks at the end of Daylight Saving. Smoke Alarms.
  • Kitchen Safety Each year Fire & Rescue NSW attends approximately 2,500 kitchen fires – or approximately 56% of all residential fires. More than half of all home fires start in the kitchen. Kitchen & Appliances.
  • Fire Safety Products For information on smoke alarms, home sprinklers, safe operating of fire extinguishes and safe disposal of same visit Fire & Rescue NSW’s Fire Safety Products page.
  • Recovery Helpful information on what to do next can be found under Recovery.


Additional Information

Fire & Rescue NSW has many fact-sheets and you can download a home escape plan from its website.