NSW Fire and Rescue today launched their Safety Visits program in Singleton that will see crews make their way through 1000 homes in the area conducting safety checks.
It won't just be rolled out in Singleton though, around 60,000 at-risk homes across NSW are expected to be checked to make sure things like smoke alarms are installed and working.
NSW Fire and Rescue Commissioner Paul Baxter said we are in the middle of winter and already there have been more than 500 house fires and it could double by the end of the season.
"The first part of a firefighters job is to prevent fire and that part of the job is giving people in the community the knowledge and the skills to be able to prevent fire in their home and be able to respond to fire when it does occur,"
"Your best way of preventing tragedy occurring in your home is preventing it from occurring in the first place."
"The at risk homes are drawn from historical data on fires that occur over a period of time and also draws on a number of variables... specific to each community,"
"If someone is worried about the risk of fire in their home they can call their local fire station and we will come and visit them and give them that advice as well," said Commissioner Paul Baxter.
"When it all comes down to it, we know what the leading causes of fires are and we can prevent them. If they do occur a working smoke alarm is the only way you'll get very quick notice that you have a fire in your home and then having an escape plan that everyone in the home understands, the children, all of the adults understand what to do when a fire occurs because you've only got minutes, just minutes to get out of your home."
Singleton Mayor Sue Moore paid tribute to the emergency service workers who attended the scene of a horrific house fire that claimed the lives of three children last month.
"We're a very proud close knit community, Singleton is like no other and in particular where there's an incident with children involved like the tragedy in June it brings everyone together in such a strong way," she said.
"That's why this safety program is so important to continue to look at the initiatives and what's important with smoke alarms and how homes can be better protected particularly in winter."
Local fire fighter Mitchell Tull said the tragedy at Singleton is something they never want to see happen again so they'll be doing everything they can to help the community.
"None of us ever want to go to that job again, and I don't want any other firies to have to go to it either so by pushing it across the state we're hoping we can stop it and if we do all of this and we stop one fire as far as I'm concerned that will be our part done," he said.
Other tips from NSW Fire and Rescue to keep safe in the home include:
- Never ever leave cooking unattended and always Keep Looking When Cooking.
- Keep everything – furnishing, curtains, clothing - one metre away from the heater.
- Do not overload power boards with these extra winter appliances – such as heaters, electric blankets and dryers.
- Ensure flues and chimneys are regularly cleaned.
- Turn off electric blankets at night.
- Do not use outdoor heating and cooking equipment inside the home.
Singleton Captain Bruce Ambrose, Singleton Mayor Sue Moore, Commissioner Paul Baxter and Fire Fighter Mitchell Tull
For more information about the Safety Visits program visit www.fire.nsw.gov.au or contact your local FRNSW station.
Image credit: Grant Broadcasters/Pete Holland