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Winter not yet over... with cold snap reneiwing calls for care.

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08 Sep 2011
Winter may be officially over but, with temperatures set to drop this week, the risk of house fires is still a concern for the state’s fire services.

Six Victorians lost their lives this winter and a further 45 sustained injuries as a result of house fires.

MFB Acting Assistant Chief Fire Officer Frank Stockton said vigilance was the key to preventing fires in the house.

He urged people to take greater care when using heaters or fire places to warm up the home or dry clothing this week.

“Cooking appliances, heaters and fireplaces were the most common cause of house fires this winter,” ACFO Stockton said.

“Care in the kitchen is essential, with most house fires starting after a momentary distraction. It’s a frequently used area of the home, which also carries a very high risk of fire.  Over a third of all house fires this winter began in the kitchen and most of these as a result of unattended cooking. If you need to leave the room, switch the stove off – it’s just that simple.”

CFA Chief Officer Euan Ferguson said CFA and MFB attended over 1100 house fires this winter, and this is too many, ,particularly when often these are avoidable.

 “We’ve had a patch of great weather recently but it’s no reason for people to get complacent about fire safety – especially as the temperature looks set to drop in the lead up to the weekend,” Mr Ferguson said.

The five municipalities with the highest number of house fires this winter were:
• Melbourne City Council (69)
• Greater Geelong (61)
• Casey (43)
• Yarra City Council (41)
• Mornington Peninsula (34).

“Be on alert over the next few weeks, take care and test your smoke alarms. In your home you are the fire warden,” said ACFO Stockton.

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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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