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A NSW RFS Fire Bird 200 chopper hovers over Yamba on Monday last week. Image: Lynne Mowbray

Residents urged to be fire safe as winter approaches

Residents urged to be fire safe as winter approaches.

Each year, approximately 20 people die in NSW from fires that can easily be prevented. As summer fades into the distance and the colder months arrive, Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) are encouraging Clarence Valley residents to book a fire safety visit to help protect them and their loved ones.

FRNSW Deputy Commissioner Jeremy Fewtrell said during fire safety visits, firefighters will check to ensure smoke alarms are working properly and are installed in suitable areas, and they will also ask residents to show them around their properties, so they are able to provide personalised fire safety information on issues such as kitchen fires, heaters and open fires, common electrical safety, barbeques and wheat bags.

They can also provide advice on best protecting your home in the event of a bushfire. Deputy Commissioner Fewtrell said firefighters are committed to reducing the risk of fires and helping to keep homes and loved ones safe. “Each death which occurs as a result of a fire is a tragic loss for families, friends and the wider community,” he said. “Additionally, for each fire fatality, there are also hundreds of people who survive a fire but suffer life-changing health consequences. “In an effort to reduce the number of fire fatalities across the state, FRNSW are urging residents to book fire safety visits.”

Deputy Commissioner Fewtrell also said the fire safety visits draw on historical data about where fires occur and the reasons why, “so we can target areas with an increased fire risk across NSW and help prevent fires from occurring.”

“If you do not have one, firefighters will install a long-life battery-powered smoke alarm as well as replace existing smoke alarm batteries all at no cost,” he added.

“Firefighters can also help develop a home fire escape plan and tell you how and when to call Triple Zero (000) in the event of an emergency.” To book a Safety Visit, visit www.fire.nsw.gov.au/visits

FRNSW tips to reduce the risk of fires:

· Ensure your property has a working fire alarm.

· Never leave cooking items unattended and keep flammable items away from your stove.

· Ensure curtains, items of clothing, bedding and tablecloths are at least 1m away from home heaters when they’re in use.

· Never leave candles unattended and ensure they are kept away from curtains, and flammable materials.

· Do not overload power boards.

· Don’t use outdoor heating or cooking equipment indoors.

· Ensure fireplaces are clean, properly ventilated and can be secured. Open fireplaces should have screens placed in front of them.

· Never go to sleep with the electric blanket turned on.

· Check power cords for damage and fraying.

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