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Careful Melburnians Reduce Home Fires by 11%

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19 Sep 2014
Melburnians are being more fire-savvy with an 11 per cent drop in the number of preventable house fires this winter compared to last year.

The latest statistics showed MFB firefighters attended 105 preventable house fires in August, taking the winter total to 356, down from 412 in 2013.

While this can partly be attributed to milder weather across the state lessening the need to rely on open fires and heaters, the majority of these fires occurred due to unattended cooking in the kitchen.

Preventable house fires are an ongoing concern for firefighters, as they are usually caused by a lack of attention or complacency.

Another leading cause of house fires this winter was electrical faults and that’s something MFB Acting Chief Officer Paul Stacchino said can be addressed with proper maintenance.

“It’s very sad to see someone lose all their worldly possessions in a fire that could easily have been avoided,” he said.

“The steps to preventing fires in the home are simple: if you’re in the kitchen, never leave your cooking unattended and always make sure your electrical appliances are well-maintained. If the cords are frayed or the appliances are faulty, throw them out.”

This year’s home fire safety campaign – the Safe Mistake Zone – aimed to address this behaviour, by encouraging people to make a ‘safe mistake’ on the internet instead of a mistake at home that could cause a fire.

While the campaign was focused on the winter months, the main messages are relevant all year round.  A V/Line train with the Safe Mistake Zone messages will remain on the tracks around the state until November.

Since launching at Federation Square on 23 July, the campaign has reached almost 4 million people on social media alone. A further 15,000 people have visited the Safe Mistake Zone website ( 

The campaign moved away from the formal, authoritative tone that can make people switch off from safety messages.

“Our aim was to engage people in something quirky and unexpected, and hope they took away a safety message to share with their family and friends,” Mr Stacchino said.

Some of the ‘safe mistakes’ promoted on the campaign website included – sending distasteful emails to friends, signing up to star in a series of embarrassing ads and voting for a comical training uniform for Victorian firefighters to wear.

This campaign will be evaluated for its effectiveness after its conclusion at the end of September.


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