Dubbo house fires prompt winter warning

IMPORTANT MESSAGE: Firefighter Charles Antonivich demonstrates the dangers of kitchen fires at last year's open day.
IMPORTANT MESSAGE: Firefighter Charles Antonivich demonstrates the dangers of kitchen fires at last year's open day.

Fifteen people have been injured as a result of house fires at Dubbo in less than three years, authorities report as they urge people to do all they can to reduce the risks this winter.

There have been 16 house fires already this year, Fire & Rescue NSW (FRNSW) reports.

That’s more than half of the 28 that occurred in the 12 months of 2017.

In 2016 there were 39 house fires in the city.

As temperatures drop and Dubbo residents turn on heaters and electric blankets, they’re turning up the potential risks.

FRNSW community safety and research Chief Superintendent Mick Morris reports there is a 10 per cent increase in the number of house fires across NSW during the cooler months each year.

“Don’t put yourself or your family at risk,” he said.

“We want to remind people to be careful when using heaters and to keep everything in the house ‘a metre from the heater’.”

He stressed heaters and electric blankets must be turned off before people leave home or go to bed, that lint filters in clothes dryers need cleaning after each use and a number of other simple steps.

On Saturday Dubbo Fire Station and Delroy Fire Station and others across the state will open their doors to spread the safety message.

Dubbo Fire Station Commander Grant Conrick said everyone was welcome to come along to the open day from 10am to 2pm to learn about safety and prevention.

There would also be fire-fighting demonstrations and tours of the station.

It was also a time to speak to firefighters about fire safety in the home, including how to install and maintain smoke alarms and how to develop a home escape plan to ensure they can quickly and safely escape in the event of a fire, Commander Conrick said.

Firefighters are also spreading the “keep looking when cooking” message to help people avoid the risk of kitchen fire catastrophes.

Kitchen fires account for 45 per cent of all residential fires and 34 per cent of injuries in NSW, FRNSW reports.

“Flames or heat sources being left unattended are the most common cause contributing to kitchen fires,” Chief Superintendent Mick Morris said.

“To avoid kitchen fire catastrophes, we urge people to ‘keep looking when cooking’.

“It’s a simple way to avoid losing your home or even worse, your loved ones or your own life.”