With winter hitting Canberra, ACT Fire & Rescue is reminding residents that heaters and clothes dryers are a major cause of house fires and that care needs to be taken with their use.
ACT Fire & Rescue attends around 250 house fires each year and said that last year house fires caused by heaters and dryers more than doubled – making up 35 per cent of incidents in July.
On August 21 last year, Region Media reported on a house fire at Crace which was believed to have been caused by clothes being left too close to a heater. The fire led to the partial collapse of the single-storey home, with a woman and child taken to hospital.
At the time, ACT Fire & Rescue urged the community to keep heaters well clear of items that might burn – suggesting a minimum one-metre clearance from clothes, bedding and other combustibles.
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With more people using heaters and dryers as temperatures plummet in Canberra this winter, ACT Fire & Rescue has released further advice for keeping homes safe from fire.
They say it is essential to follow these basic rules when using a heater or clothes dryer:
- clean the lint filter in your clothes dryer before you use it – every time
- make sure your heater is dust free
- never turn on a heater or clothes dryer and leave the house
- stop using your heater or dryer if it’s making unusual noises or not functioning properly
- always follow the manufacturer’s instructions, especially during installation.
ACT Fire & Rescue are also encouraging Canberrans to make sure they have a working smoke alarm and to ensure their household is familiar with their Home Fire Escape Plan.
For more information and tips on how to prepare your home for winter and reduce the risk of fire visit www.esa.act.gov.au.