26 September 2023

Householders warned to watch their heaters

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As the winter chill travels across the state, Victorian fire services are reminding households to remain vigilant when warming their home and make sure heating systems are regularly inspected, to avoid a fire sparking.

Country Fire Authority (CFA) Acting Chief Officer Garry Cook said CFA and Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV) firefighters responded to an average of 3,000 residential fires across the State each year, and more than 240 of those were caused by heating systems.

A/Chief Officer Cook said Victorians should ensure they had their gas and electrical heaters serviced every two years to safeguard their loved ones from fire.

“We’ve already seen CFA respond to 23 heater fires this year, and we’re only just entering the winter season,” A/Chief Officer Cook said.

“We know from last year’s data that most fires that resulted in serious injuries and fatalities started in lounge rooms and sleeping areas, and for those lounge areas, these were mostly sparked by heating systems that at times were not working properly and when located too close to flammable materials,” he said.

“A common mistake we are finding is households are keeping their drying clothes too close to heaters and fireplaces, so it’s best to ensure they are at least one metre away from all heating.”

“Regardless of when you turn a heater on, just be mindful to turn them off before you leave the house or go to sleep.”

FRV Commissioner Gavin Freeman said the colder months were some of the riskiest times of the year for fires in the home and most of these fires could be prevented.

“Taking a few moments to check your heaters and fireplaces before winter sets in could mean the difference between life and death for your family,” Commissioner Freeman said.

“Make sure your heaters are regularly cleaned, serviced, or checked by a certified technician. Don’t leave portable heaters unattended and always supervise children near all types of heaters,” he said.

“Don’t forget to check in on any outdoor heaters you may have as well, ensuring the area they are positioned in is flat, has good air flow and away from objects that can catch alight.

“As their purpose is to be outside, never use your outdoor heaters or cooking equipment inside your home, as it can lead to deadly build-up of gases.”

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