RAC issues winter warning after spike in house fires

RAC is urging Western Australians to take precautions around their homes this winter, after a recent spike in house fires devastated properties, causing more than $1.2 million in damage.

RAC Home Claims Manager, Glen Walker, said five catastrophic house fires overwhelmed WA homes in June, with damage bills ranging from $150,000 to $350,000.

“This is the largest number of catastrophic house fires claims and the biggest damage bill we’ve seen for June over the past five years,” Mr Walker said.

“We know there’s an increase in potential fire hazards in and around the home during winter, with people using heaters, electric blankets and candles more often. 

“We’ve also recently seen fires started from outdoor pits that have not been extinguished properly after use.

“Incorrectly installed downlights, over-loaded power-boards, faulty electric appliances and unattended cooking are also common ways house fires can ignite. 

“We often see traumatic house fires that could have easily been avoided with the right preventive actions.

“We recommend occupants test their smoke alarms every month, change the batteries at least once a year and make sure a fire blanket or extinguisher is easy to access, but away from any potential fire hazards.

“It’s also important to always have licensed and qualified tradespeople install lighting, air conditioning and heating systems and to have them serviced regularly. 

The cost of rebuilding an average home after a house fire is close to $350,000, while the approximate cost of replacing contents lost in a house fire is around $120,000. These amounts can increase significantly depending on the style of the home and the belongings that have been damaged or destroyed.

“We recommend members check that their level of insurance cover accurately reflects the value of their home and contents,” Mr Walker said. 

For further information on preventing house fires, visit the RAC website.

This story RAC issues winter warning after spike in house fires first appeared on Augusta-Margaret River Mail.