And according to DFES, most home fires are completely preventable and accidental. Take into account some important winter fire safety tips to make sure you’re doing all you can to prevent a fire from starting in your home.

  1. How clean is your home? Dusty heating ducts can be a waiting fire starter and tea towels left laying around stoves are a danger. Make sure to keep a tidy and dust-free home to prevent particles catching alight.
  2. Candles might help create a cosy atmosphere, but make sure to keep them well away from anything that could catch alight such as curtains. Keep them away from children and blow them out when leaving the room to avoid any accidents.
  3. Winter often means wet weather that doesn’t allow clothes to dry outside. Make sure to clean out the lint section of your dryer before it becomes a fire hazard. Empty this after every use of the dryer.
  4. If you hang your clothes on a dryer inside the house, don’t place them on the heater or right in front of it. Some materials are highly flammable, and items placed too close can catch alight easily.
  5. Turn off your appliances and heater before leaving the house. These should only be used when there is someone in the home.
  6. Electric blankets are great for warmth, but should be turned off when it’s time to sleep and when you’re not in the same room. Never leave them on in your child’s room.
  7. It’s a no-brainer but you’d be surprised by how many people smoke in bed. Ash can fall into the covers and start a fire easily.
  8. Watch that fire place when it’s in use. Many fires start when sources of heating are left unattended. Watch for stray logs rolling out of the fire place, keep the immediate area around the fireplace clean, and ensure chimneys are cleaned thoroughly.
  9. Flammable liquids, fuels, fertilisers, solvents and pool chemicals should be stored correctly, apart from each other, and in approved containers. Never allow chemicals to come into contact with each other and do not use naked flames in the garage where these are stored.
  10. It’s law that all homes are to be fitted with a smoke alarm. Make sure your smoke alarm is in working order and change your batteries at the same time each year. A smoke alarm can alert you of a fire in the home, and give you enough time to get out safely.

Keep your family educated about fire safety. Ensure you have a fire extinguisher and a fire blanket in your home handy and know when to use each one. For example, fires such as those in the kitchen involving fats and oils are best smothered rather than doused in water which can cause splashing and burns.

Make sure your family knows escape routes to get out in case of a fire, what to do, and where to meet after escaping the home. By keeping up to date with fire hazard information and ensuring your family is educated, you can help to ensure a fire-free winter.

Make sure to also have home and contents insurance in place in case your home or possessions are damaged in a fire. Contact CGU on 13 24 81 for more information about Home and Contents Insurance products.