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Winter is coming, is your home fire ready?

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31 May 2018
With winter 24 hours away and the days getting cooler and shorter, MFB is encouraging Melburnians to take steps to minimise the risk of fire at home.

Last winter, more than $10 million in damage was caused by hundreds of house fires across Melbourne that could have been prevented.

Between June – August last year, MFB firefighters responded to 423 preventable house fires, an 11 per cent rise compared with the previous winter.

The kitchen was the biggest hotspot in the home, responsible for almost half (47 per cent) of all fires last winter.

Unattended cooking was a major cause, resulting in 61 fires across the three month period.

Other top causes of home fires include:

  • Electrical mishaps (16 per cent)
  • Smoking (6 per cent)

MFB Assistant Chief Fire Officer Martin Braid urged all Victorians to take some simple steps to prevent fires from occurring.

“Many people only associate fire dangers with the hotter summer months, but home fires are also a real risk to Victorians during the cooler months.

“In winter, we tend to spend more time inside and use more electrical appliances such as heaters.

“The fact is that most of the fires that occur in the home can be prevented,” he said.

Tips for staying fire safe at home this winter:

  • Make sure your smoke alarms are in good working order.
  • Know your fire escape plan and practice it regularly.
  • Never leave cooking unattended and keep your cooking area free from built up grease, dust and oil.
  • Keep drying clothes and other items at least one metre away from all heaters.
  • Ensure all electrical appliances including heaters are kept in good working order and replace if damaged.
  • Extinguish cigarettes, candles, incense and oil burners before leaving home or going to bed.
  • Make sure your fireplace has a fireguard to prevent sparks and embers from entering the living area, and regularly clean and maintain the flue and chimney.

For more home fire safety tips, see MFB’s Home Fire Safety Booklet.

Top causes of Preventable Residential Structure Fires, June to August 2017 and June to August 2016
Cause 2017 2016
Number of calls % total fires for period Number of calls % total fires for period
Unattended cooking 61 14% 59 15%
Electrical 66 16% 80 21%
Smoking 24 6% 14 4%


Numbers of Preventable Residential Structure Fires by LGA, June to August 2017
LGA Number of calls Property damage
Wyndham 0 $0
Melbourne 57 $278,863
Moreland 32 $152,610
Brimbank 30 $927,720
Monash 29 $626,145
Port Phillip 27 $397,780
Darebin 27 $362,505
Yarra 24 $168,699
Glen Eira 24 $615,150
Stonnington 19 $76,275
Booroondara 19 $659,850
Hume 18 $451,910
Banyule 18 $2,262,600
Moonee Valley 15 $357,460
Whittlesea 14 $372,560
Hobsons Bay 13 $98,135
Whitehorse 12 $274,120
Kingston 11 $475,410
Maribyrnong 10 $1,253,165
Bayside 9 $26,600
Maroondah 8 $231,220
Manningham 7 $91,550
Total 423 $10,160,327

More information: MFB media 9665 4699 or

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