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Melbourne residents urged to be vigilant after spate of house fires

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09 Jul 2013
MFB are urging Melbourne residents to be vigilant with home fire safety after three major house fires in the last 24 hours.

Two other house fires in Prahran last night and Camberwell this morning saw occupants lucky to escape with both houses suffering significant damage.

“Every life lost is tragic and I urge all Victorians to take preventive action to stop fires occurring in their homes in the first place and knowing what to do if a fire does start. Please do not let this happen to you or your family,” said MFB Chief Fire Officer Wright.

“The cold winter months bring with them an increased risk of house fire and in the last 24 hours we have seen three significant house fires in Melbourne, one of them resulting in the loss of a man’s life.  ”, said Chief Fire Officer Wright. 

The increased use of heaters, people drying clothes by heaters or open fires and the use of electric blankets all increase the fire risks over winter.

There are a number of simple steps people can take to reduce the risk of fire over winter. Most important is to have a working smoke alarm; smoke alarms save lives. 

  • Check heaters, flues and chimneys are in good working order.
  • Turn heaters off when you leave the house or go to bed.
  • Never leave cooking, heaters, open fires or candles unattended.
  • When using electric blankets, follow manufacturer’s instructions. Don’t leave them on for more than 30 minutes and turn them off when you go to bed.
  • Do not dry clothing less than one metre from heaters.
  • Never smoke in bed.
  • Prepare a home fire escape plan and practise it.

In 2012 there were 3,800 house fires in Victoria resulting in the loss of 12 lives and causing property damage in excess of $97 million. 

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The Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authority Council (AFAC) recommends monthly testing of smoke alarms to ensure they are working correctly.

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