DEM Fire Guide to Common Fires – and Strategic Ways to Help Prevent Them
Across Australia – and globally – many will remember this summer for the immense bushfires that have ravaged so many parts of our country. Most Australians are very aware of the importance of having a Bushfire Survival Plan… and DEM Fire strongly believes that preparation is equally vital when it comes to common household or office fires.
According to Fire and Rescue NSW, there are around 4,500 household fires in this state alone every year. Given the magnitude, it’s clear that taking active precautions should be part of every property owner or resident’s plan.
We take a look at the most common causes of property fires, and why preparation – and some simple steps – can effectively minimise the risk… and the outcome.
Of the approximately 4,500 household fires that occur in NSW each year, it’s estimated that close to half occur in the kitchen.
This staggering number prompted Fire and Rescue NSW to create its ‘Keep Looking When Cooking’ campaign, to alert people to the dangers of becoming distracted while cooking. Leaving a stovetop unattended is one of the most common reasons that household fires occur… and something that everyone can address with cautious cooking. Whether at home or work, the primary rule is to always turn the stovetop and appliances off if leaving the kitchen.
While there are various triggers for kitchen fires, including overheating, electrical faults or open flames catching hold of nearby flammables, inattention is the main reason these fires spread – something we should also remember with cigarettes, candles and open fireplaces.
We can potentially prevent many fires with fast action and the right safety equipment at hand, including a fire extinguisher and blanket.
Attention for electricals
One of the most common origins of household or office fires is electrical faults, and these can occur for several reasons.
Electrical faults might stem from the electrical wiring in a property that is old, damaged or incorrectly installed. Or they might occur from a faulty or damaged appliance or cable.
Use only licenced electricians and call in an electrician at the first sign of electrical damage such as a discoloured socket or burning smell near a power outlet.
Buying quality products is also crucial. Do always buy electrical goods from reputable stores and ideally not online unless you are confident that the store is legitimate. Ensure your product features The Australian Regulatory Compliance Mark, which ensures it is compliant with Australian safety standards. It’s important to also keep an eye out for product recalls on the Government’s Product Safety Australia website.
Maintaining appliances and equipment
The quality and condition of any appliance play a role. One very common trigger of laundry fires is clogged lint filters in clothes dryers. It illustrates why appliance and fire equipment maintenance is so important. Keep appliances in good shape with these simple steps:
- Never connect multiple adaptors on top of each other; instead, use a power board with a built-in safety switch.
- Always use appliances as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Clean stove tops and rangehoods regularly to avoid a build-up of oil or other flammables.
- Clean the lint filter in your clothes dryer prior to every use.
- Check electric blankets at the beginning of each winter and look for frayed or cracked wires, plugs or cables.
- Keep appliances cables looped neatly and always straighten them when in use.
- Never cover appliances with clothes, blankets or other materials.
- Finally, never be complacent with mobile phones, which are susceptible to fire. Charge only when in eyesight and never at night or by the bed.
A safety plan for every property
DEM Fire takes a holistic approach to fire and essential services. We provide our clients with solution design, system installation, asset management and fire compliance services. And comprehensive planning at home is equally critical.
Just as every home near natural habitat should have a Bushfire Survival Plan, so should every Australian household have a comprehensive plan in place for their property that includes installing and maintaining a working smoke alarm, the right fire protection equipment and electrical appliances.
DEM Fire are experts in fire protection with a dedicated team with the knowledge and experience to guarantee quality fire prevention solutions. To ensure the safety of your office or commercial property, contact us for a full fire prevention plan.