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6 ways to stop your house catching fire

6 ways to stop your house catching fire

No-one wants their house to catch fire - obviously.

But in fact, the habits of the people that live in them, make a fire in the home more or less likely.

According to Fire and Rescue NSW, 30% of residential fires occur in winter and 47% of fires start in the kitchen. 

This week kicks-off the Fire Prevention Week by Fire and Rescue NSW.

As a part of their Winter Safety campaign, they are educating about fire safety and encouraging all of us to adopt preventive measures around our homes.

Here are six thing things to avoid doing if you want to help keep your home and loved one's safe from fire.

1. Leaving things that can burn or overheat unattended

We've all done it. 

Leaving heaters and dryers on, food on the stove cooking, candles burning and going out, or going to bed, or simply just forgetting them for a while.

Fire start and spread very fast and it can be a life-threatening hazard to leave these kind items on or alight and not keep an eye on them. 

Another no-no is drying clothes in front of an unattended heating device, which is a serious threat.

2. Using old or defective heaters

Everyone wants a toasty house at the peak of the cold season.

But most of us just pull out last year's heater and switch it on when the temperature drops without having it checked: And that can be dangerous.

For example, being aware of when your gas heater isn’t functioning properly and leaking carbon monoxide is absolutely essential. 

Whether it's a gas heater, a wood-fired place or an electric one, each needs to be properly installed and functioning before you start using it. 

Yes it's an effort and there may be a cost involved, but the saving may be priceless.

3. Not replacing old or faulty electricals

People tend to underestimate the threat of electrical failures in causing fires.

For example, halogen downlights produce a lot of heat and can be a leading cause of fires in the house if they're faulty. 

Malfunctioning electrical appliances, wiring, power boards and other equipment also need careful scrutiny.

Seek the help of a professional if you’re unsure.

4. Forgetting about fire dangers outside the house

You might have highly flammable items in your storage that you’ve completely forgotten about.

Make sure that all equipment is properly secured and chemicals are stored as recommended.

That wood pile could lead to disaster if it is not accounted for and secured. This practice works in tandem with bushfire prevention. 

Chimnera's and open fires, which are great to sit around with a glass of wine on a winter's night, can also start bigger blazes if they get out of control or are unnatended. 

The message is, don't leave a fire without putting it out.

5. Not having fire detectors and fire-fighting equipment

Smoke alarms are an important asset to your home. 

They need to be checked regularly to ensure they are working properly; when the time to replace them is near, act sooner rather than later.

Another investment you can make for safety is getting a fire sprinkler system

Similarly, having an extinguisher or a fire blanket on hand could stop a fire in its tracks and save damage and costs later on.

6. Not having an emergency plan

What will you do if a fire happens?

Will your children know what to do?

Fire's can happen unexpectedly and often while everyone is asleep. 

Having an escape plan is important for households.

Not every window or door is a safe escape route in the event of a fire, plus smoke and heat can cause confusion and disorientation.

Writing down the escape plan and practising it could safeguard your family, so it's worth taking the time to do it.

What you need to know:

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