Make fire safety a priority

Published 1:00pm 11 June 2024

Make fire safety a priority
Words by Nadia Chapman

Above: Kippa-Ring Fire and Rescue Station Officer Mark McGlinn

Firefighters are urging households to be fire-safe this winter – a time of year when there is typically a spike in housefires.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) firefighters were called to more than 450 housefires across the state last year, with more calls in winter than any other season.

Kippa-Ring Fire and Rescue Station Officer Mark McGlinn says there are few simple steps to protect your home and family.

He says it is important to check heaters and electric blankets for damage before using them in the cooler months.

“Heaters, electric blankets and some other household appliances are generally stored over the warmer months and can suffer damage while in storage,” Mark says.

“Do not use any appliances with frayed cords, damaged plugs or any other obvious damage.”

Mark says user behaviour can be just as dangerous as dodgy appliances.

“You should never use an electric heater or fireplace screen to dry any clothing,” he says.

“A good quality electric heater will have a safety switch installed that turns the heater off if it’s knocked over.

“The fireplace chimney should be checked and cleaned prior to first use to ensure that there is no build-up of any flammable material.

“You should never leave a fire unattended and always extinguish the fire completely before leaving the house or going to bed.”

It’s also important for any households using an outdoor firepit to ensure it has a cover to stop flying embers landing on leaf litter or dry grass.

“Please follow any local council regulations surrounding the use of outdoor fire pits (and) never use a flammable liquid to light your open fire,” Mark explains.

For more information, visit qfes.qld.gov.au or phone the station on (07) 3293 8700.

Make fire safety a priority

What to do in an emergency

  • The fire could be small enough on discovery for you to try and extinguish with what you have at home, such as a fire extinguisher, garden hose or fire blanket.
  • If the fire is too big for you to fight, ensure you safely exit the building as early as possible. If in any doubt, evacuate immediately and wait for the Fire Service.
  • Once you’re out of the house, phone Triple Zero (000) and stay outside. Don’t go back inside for anything.
  • When you’re connected to the Triple Zero (000) operator you will be asked if everybody is safe and accounted for and to confirm the address of the fire.
  • Once the Fire Service arrives, the crew will want to confirm where the fire is and the best way to access the structure.
  • If possible, please make yourself known to the fire crew when they arrive, your assistance will make a big difference.
  • Remember, when you call to report a fire, Queensland Ambulance, Police, and other authorities are also automatically notified, so there is no need to make further phone calls.

Be prepared

Have a fire safety plan in place that has been practised by all family members.

The plan should include:

  • Recognising the sound of a smoke alarm activation and alerting all members of the household
  • Identifying two escape routes (in case one is blocked) in every area of the house
  • Have a designated meeting place outside the house, such as the letterbox

For more information about smoke alarms, visit qfes.qld.gov.au/smokealarms

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