|Summer safety poster |
Cooling appliances that have been stored away should be cleaned and inspected by a qualified appliance electrician before use. Every summer, several Queenslanders lose their homes through fires triggered by fans and air conditioning units that have been damaged during winter storage, not cleaned adequately or allowed to over-heat. Dust that accumulates around fan motors can easily generate a fire.
Other problems arise in coastal areas where householders face the additional hazard of salt deposits in air conditioning units, as salt is an electrical conductor. If an air conditioner draws in salty air, and salt is allowed to build up around exposed electrical contacts, it can trigger a fire.
Portable free-standing fans appear as vulnerable to the kind of damage inflicted by incorrect storage. A fan lead can easily be damaged if a heavy object is stacked on top of it in a cupboard over winter.
Firefighters urge everyone to ensure their gas cylinders have been professionally tested within the last ten years and that all hoses and valves are fully secured and are not split or leaking. If your barbecue is under cover, beware of the effect heat may have on any roofing directly above the barbecue. Never use petrol or flammable liquids on wood barbecues as a way of lighting or fuelling the fire. More barbeque safety tips.
Firefighters recommend you check to see that your holiday accommodation has properly fitted and working smoke alarms, and if it doesn’t contact building management or your real estate agent.
If you’re caravanning, ensure you have smoke alarms suitable for use in confined spaces and a fully-serviced fire extinguisher. More caravan and mobile home safety tips.
The festive season is a time for relaxing and getting together with family and friends, and firefighters are urging people to take care over the holidays particularly when alcohol is involved.
If you have had a bit to drink, you may not be as alert to potential fire hazards as you usually are. Be careful around cooking. Hold off on the alcohol while you’re using the stove or barbecue. Barbecues should never be left unattended, especially when there are children around, and children should always be supervised around cooking.
Many fires are the result of carelessness, and alcohol can contribute to people not being as alert as they usually are to potential fire hazards. Candles and mosquito coils that are placed in dangerous positions or are left to burn unattended are an example of this.
Candles are often positioned too close to curtains, bedding and other flammable materials, or placed on newspaper, plastics and wood, and tragically over the past few years there have been a number of fire deaths as a direct result of candles, oil burners and mosquito coils being left unattended.
Fire safety over the school holidays
Statistics show a significant increase in fires during school holiday periods. One of the obvious factors contributing to this problem is school children lighting fires through boredom or mischief. Parents are urged to explain the dangers of lighting fires to children as part of their normal school holiday safety advice.
Nuisance fires lit by children can extensively commit the Fire Service’s urban and rural resources to the point where response to other emergencies could be significantly delayed. Parents should be aware that the penalties for arson - whether the target is a building or bushland - are severe.