House fires rise by 22% in Bundaberg
THERE were 15 more house fires in the Bundaberg region last year compared to three years ago.
With the dramatic rise since 2014, firefighters are warning residents to know the risks and have a plan in place.
Queensland Fire Emergency Service attend house fires year round but there is traditionally an increase during the winter months.
And as the chilly winter weather draws closer and the peak of winter upon us fireies said it generally sees that spike now.
The number of house fires across the Rum City has increased by 22% year-on-year since 2014.
Last year there were 44 house fires in the Bundaberg region, from Gin Gin to Elliott Heads, compared to 35 the year before and 29 in 2014.
In Bundaberg alone, the number of house fires had increased significantly.
The majority of house fires within the Bundaberg Command area happened in Bundaberg with 79% of all house fires in the command area in 2014; 68% in 2015; and 70% in 2016.
At least two Bundaberg homes were completely destroyed by fire last year as a Maryborough St home was gutted by a blaze in September and a fire destroyed a house on Peatey St, Kepnock, in August.
QFES Bundaberg acting station officer Mark St Ledger said now was the time to be vigilant before the fires started.
He said remembering simple things, like not drying clothes in front of heaters, could prevent fires.
"It's hard to say how all house fires start but people can be cautious and get ready now to prevent them.
"Practice evacuation drills and have a fire plan in place is a good start," he said.
Mr St Ledger said although there were many causes for the 44 house fires last year and 25 of them were sparked in rooms other than the bedroom or kitchen of the residence.
The number of kitchen fires almost doubled between 2015 and 2016 from eight to 15 last year.
While there were 15 kitchen fires and there were also four fires which started in the bedrooms of homes.
. The total number of house fires for the Bundaberg Command Area has increased year-on-year since 2014.
. House fires increased by more than 20% between 2015 and 2016 (from 35 house fires to 44).
. In Bundaberg alone, the number of house fires has increased year-on-year since 2014. The number grew significantly between 2015 and 2016 (24 v 31), representing a 22% increase year-on-year.
. The majority of house fires within the Bundaberg Command area occur in Bundaberg. Bundaberg accounted for 79% of all house fires in the Command area in 2014; 68% in 2015; and 70% in 2016.
. The number of kitchen fires almost doubled between 2015 and 2016 (8 in 2015; 15 in 2016).
How to stay safe
- Queenslanders need to take extra caution around the home during winter.
- Firefighters attend house fires year round but there is traditionally an increase during the winter months.
- Every year, firefighters attend structure fires caused by faulty or poorly maintained electrical equipment and incidents where flammable materials were placed too close to curtains, bedding or appliances.
- It's crucial households check their appliances for fraying, exposed cords or rust and repair or discard malfunctioning electrical appliances immediately.
- Residents need to be aware of hazards that can spark fire at any time like overheated battery chargers and power points, which are another common cause of house fires.
- Residents should test electric blankets before putting it on the bed for use to confirm it is OK.
- Only use fuses of recommended rating and install an electrical safety switch.
- Always keep an eye on cooking in the kitchen and never leave it unattended. Keep a fire extinguisher and fire blanket placed near the exit.
- Take care using matches and lighters and never leave burning candles or any open flame unattended.
- All people need a fire escape plan.
- A fire escape plan should include two ways to escape from each room in the house, location of spare keys for doors and windows, a heavy object handy to break glass to escape, a safe meeting place outside the home.
- A working photoelectric smoke alarm provides early warning of a fire and is an essential part of any escape plan.