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Journeys : RACT MNJ June July 2010
Want more information about fire safety? Contact your local fire station, freecall 1800 000 699 or visit www.fire.tas.gov.au "Most people have fire risks in their homes but a few simple precautions can save lives and property," advises Chris Tomes, Senior Station Officer with the TFS. Common danger zones for fire around the home include: • heaters • the kitchen • faulty electrical goods • carelessness with smoking materials or candles Wood heaters: Your wood heater should be installed to Australian Standards specifications by a professional installer. Chimneys and flues should be professionally installed and regularly cleaned. Portable heaters: When buying a portable heater, choose one that switches off automatically if knocked over, and position it away from household traffic. Never place clothes, newspapers, kindling and other flammable material within 2m of any heater, and always turn it off when leaving the house. Open fires: If you have an open fire, put a guard in place, preferably metal mesh, to protect against embers. Kitchens: Never leave cooking unattended. Electrical Appliances: Faulty electrical appliances or leads can spark fires. One of the keys to fire safety, according to the TFS, is maintenance. Have older appliances inspected by an electrician, replace any damaged leads, and avoid overloading power points by using power boards rather than double adaptors. Cigarettes: Make sure cigarette lighters or matches are kept well out of reach of children. While these precautions reduce fire risks, every home should have photo-electric smoke alarms installed in each sleeping area, hallway and living area. If you live in a house with more than one level, install a smoke alarm on the ceiling at the head of the stairway connecting the levels. Fire escape plans Make sure you develop a home fire escape plan so that all members of the household know the best way to get out, particularly if a fire breaks out while the household is asleep. "One of the key reasons people lose their lives in house fires is that thick smoke, minimal visibility and the effects of smoke inhalation can cause people to panic, lose their bearings and get trapped in their own homes," says Chris Tomes. "Experience tells us smoke alarms provide an early warning, but should be backed up with a home fire escape plan to ensure you can get out safely during a fire." The plans are easy to develop, and should include the following elements: • Install smoke alarms • Know two safe ways out of every room • Ensure windows and doors open quickly when required, and keys are kept in deadlocked doors • Decide on a safe outdoor meeting place e.g. the letterbox • If you have to escape your home during a fre, remember to crawl close to the foor and once you're out, stay out Young children are likely to sleep through the sound of a smoke alarm, so you must alert them to a fire and help them escape to safety. A safety message brought to you from 25 June /July 2010
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