Wellington Shire Council is urging residents and local business owners not to become complacent about fire safety during the winter season.
The prompt follows a spate of fires in recent weeks which has seen entire households and commercial buildings within the Shire completely destroyed.
The winter months are among the most dangerous time of the year in terms of house fires. Whilst the most common place in the home where fires start is in the kitchen, data from the Country Fire Authority (CFA) and Fire Rescue Victoria shows that more than 72 per cent of deadly fires start in bedrooms and living areas; most of which are caused by mechanical failure of heating systems, appliances, and equipment.
As the weather cools down, residents are being asked to stay vigilant when using heating equipment such as indoor fireplaces and electric room heaters.
When it comes to home heating in particular, Fire Rescue Victoria and the CFA recommend the following fire safety and prevention tips.
Never leave portable heaters and fireplaces unattended and turn off heating devices before leaving home or going to sleep.
Drying clothes and other items must be kept at least one metre away from all heating.
Residents should have their gas heaters inspected and serviced every two years to ensure the safety of loved ones from carbon monoxide poisoning or fire.
Children must be supervised near all types of heating.
Heaters should be installed as per the manufacturer's instructions, away from wet areas if they are portable and when purchasing a heater look for one that has an automatic safety switch that will turn off if the heater is tipped over.
Under the Victorian smoke alarm legislation, all residential properties must have a smoke alarm installed on every level including in every sleeping area and living room. As a further safety precaution, smoke alarms should be installed with a 10 year long-life battery and tested each month to reduce fire risk.
Wellington Shire Council Mayor, Cr Ian Bye was shocked to learn about the recent fires in Wellington Shire.
“Having these fires happen within the first two weeks of winter is devastating and has such a huge impact on so many people living in our community. I encourage all residents to stay alert of the fire risks in their home or business and to develop a fire escape plan and practice it”. Cr Bye said.
If a fire starts inside your property, get out and stay out and in every case - call Triple Zero (000).
More information about fire prevention:
More information about fire prevention in and around the Port Albert area, reach out to the Port Albert CFA Learn More >>>