Is your family, including elderly loved ones, prepared if a fire happens? Cooking is one of the leading causes of fire in the home with most fires in Queensland starting in the kitchen.

The colder months are also a more dangerous time when it comes to fires in the home because there are often more appliances being used. Heaters, electric blankets, and potentially a fireplace.

Most kitchen fires occur because food is left unattended on the stove or in the oven. ‘Never Stop Looking While You’re Cooking’ is the key phrase to remember. Never leave the kitchen — even for a short time — when food is frying, grilling, or broiling.

Having an escape route planned is something everyone should have. Identify at least two ways to escape from every room. If you see smoke or fire in your first escape route, use your second way out. Practice your escape plan at least twice a year.

Make sure windows and doorways open and unlock easily from the inside, without a key. Keep escape routes clear. Clean out clutter and move any furniture that blocks the way. Stairs and doorways should never be blocked.

While the Queensland legislation is now strict for smoke alarms, making sure the house is up to code can be an inexpensive life saver. A working smoke alarm reduces the risk of dying in a fire by as much as 60 per cent.

Place them correctly or have them installed by a professional. Ensure they are maintained and tested regurley and cleaned from dust monthly. Change the batteries at least once a year and it is best to have interconnected smoke alarms because if one sounds, they all sound.

Keep fire extinguishers in many rooms and make sure all family members know where they are located.

Maintain extinguishers and mark your calendar with their expiration dates so you can recharge or replace them as needed. Knowing how to use one is also a key point and do a community class on how to if you don’t know.

Make fire safety a priority in the home and if disaster strikes, you will be ready.

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