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Social media campaign targets mistakes that cause home fires

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20 May 2015
A social media campaign targeting simple mistakes which cause house fires was launched today by Victoria’s fire services.

The Safe Mistake Zone is an online hub where people can learn about the common causes of house fires.

MFB Chief Officer Peter Rau said every day Victorian firefighters attend an average of eight preventable house fires.

“While there are literally thousands of ways a house fire can start, really they all boil down to one thing – a moment of carelessness, neglect or distraction,” he said.

“We want people to think twice before putting themselves and their homes at risk of fire.”

CFA Chief Officer Euan Ferguson said more people die in house fires than in bushfires – however, most fatal fires at home could be prevented. 

He said last year’s campaign reached more than 3.2 million people on Facebook alone.

“Victorian firefighters attended 3,170 preventable house fires last year, with a third of them starting in the kitchen,” he said.

“The Safe Mistake Zone is an engaging and entertaining campaign that will be travelling around the state in a regional road show all winter to help spread fire safety messages.”

At today’s launch, members of the public were invited to make a safe mistake like getting a badly spelt (temporary) tattoo or posing for an embarrassing photo in the Safe Mistake Zone photo booth.

There was also an ’unsafe mistake’ tent, where people could learn about the unexpected causes of Victorian home fires – such as overheating laptops and curling wands.

Mistakes at home cause fires, visit make a safe mistake instead.

Above: Getting a badly spelt (temporary) tattoo is a #safemistake!

Key Facts and Stats

  • In 2014 there were 3170 preventable house fires in Victoria
  • Over one third of all residential fires in Victoria occur in household kitchens.
  • Children under five and people aged 65 years or older are twice as likely as the rest of the population to die in a residential fire.
  • Each year there are more than 3,000 preventable house fires in Victoria. That’s more than eight every day
  • On average 20 people die every year from preventable house fires.
Interesting fire causes in 2014 Number
Unattended cooking      600
Faulty dishwashers 29
Poorly maintained washers and dryers 46
Unsupervised kids 37
Poorly maintained chimneys 142
Laptops overheating 4
Computers (including laptops)  11
Inappropriate heater use 237
Dropped cigarettes 163
Overloaded power boards 19
Candles                77
Unattended appliances 38

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