Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) has urged people trying to keep warm this winter ensure their products are used correctly and aren’t old and faulty.
A series of controlled burns filmed by the DFES have shown how rapidly fire, smoke and toxic fumes can fill a room and turn deadly.
A fire in a modern home has the potential to spread and engulf a room in under five minutes.
The vision of the controlled burns demonstrates the need for Western Australians to treat home fire safety as a priority this winter by checking their smoke alarms and having a clear plan for escape.
Last winter firefighters attended on average two accidental house fires every day across the state.
Fire and Emergency Services commissioner Darren Klemm said house fires have a devastating emotional, physical and financial impact on hundreds of Western Australians every year.
“Most of us think it will never happen to me but fires can and do happen, so it’s critical to plan how you can get you, your family and your pets to safety as quickly as possible,” he said.
“Having and communicating that plan with everyone in your home is a simple but potentially life-saving step to ensuring you escape with your lives.”
Mr Klemm said smoke alarm complacency could have devastating consequences.
“The speed and ferocity of fire should never be underestimated. Smoke alarms are your first defence against fire in your home,” he said.
“Check your alarms are working, that they’re clean and the batteries are up to date. The more notice you have of a fire, the better the chance you have of escaping.
“All alarms, regardless of type or model, need to be replaced at least every 10 years.”
Building and Energy executive director Ken Bowron said more than 50 people across Australia die each year in house fires and many more are injured, so there is an urgent need for people to be aware of the dangers of many common winter warmers.
“We want everyone to have a safe winter but many products can be unsafe if they are old, faulty or not used correctly. Just taking a few minutes to check heaters and electric blankets before use can prevent serious injuries or even a tragedy,” Mr Bowron said.
For more information and tips on how to keep your family and home safe this winter visit www.dfes.wa.gov.au/wintersafe.
Further information on electrical safety issues can be obtained at www.dmirs.wa.gov.au/energysafety.