The sound of serein’s in the distance, the smell of smoke in the air and the hope from anyone listening that everyone is okay.
Sometimes it is not the case and people are injured or killed from a house fire that started from something that could have been avoided.
South East Queensland has seen 95 house fires in the first quarter of 2020 with the City of Logan seeing 32 of those. Now the weather has started turning cold there are greater chances for more fires to come.
Of the 32 fires in Logan, 23 started in the kitchen. This is a huge 71 per cent and with most homes underprepared for a small kitchen fire, they often end up larger than they need to be.
The remaining nine fires stared due to heaters, candles, a lighter, short circuit/overload, and three in the sleeping area. When using candles in the house they need to be set up correctly and everyone must ensure children are not left to play with lighters/matches.
Logan House Fire Support Network founder Louie Naumovski says now is the perfect time to start looking at fire safety around the home.
“The first thing people need to do is establish whether smoke alarms are working correctly”, said Louie.
“Using the test button on the alarm, press it and ensure the sound of the alarm is loud and clear which means it is working correctly. If this doesn’t happen check the battery and the alarm.
“Also be sure to clean your alarms with either a duster or the brush attachment from a vacuum. This alarm could be a life saver one day and needs to be looked after.”
As we look to stay warm at night, the electric blanket might be the go to. This is an item that needs to be looked over carefully before use.
“Check for any damage to the blanket and check the power cord for fraying or cuts,” said Louie.
“Give the blanket a test before just putting it straight on the bed that night to make sure everything is okay and it’s important not to leave them on all night.
“When you add the blanket to your power board, make sure the board is clean, undamaged and not overloaded. If the board is four power sockets, do not add any extra adapters to it as it is not meant to be used that way and will overload it.”
With the COVID-19 events on and the year now halfway though, it is also a reminder that the new fire legislation is only 18 months away.
All rentals must be completed by 1st January 2022. What that means is all properties must have Photoelectric Smoke Alarms, in every bedroom, at the exit to those bedrooms in the hallway, on each level of the home and must be interconnected. Interconnected means when one alarm is activated they all activate for greater chance of everyone in the house being aware of the fire.
“All other existing properties must be completed by 1st January 2027; we encourage everyone to make the transition to Photoelectric Smoke Alarms to better protect themselves for the earliest possible warning in the event of a fire.”
Louie and Logan House Fire Support Network help people after house fires by sorting accommodation and helping rebuild their lives. Mental wellbeing is also high on the agenda after house fires and during this pandemic.
It doesn’t matter who you are, where you live or how you’re feeling – taking a few moments for yourself each day will help you be a happier and more resilient and if you need to talk to someone be sure to call Lifeline 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue 1300 224 636.
More fire safety info can be found online at LHFSN.org