Firies urge appliance caution as winter chill sets in

NSW Firefighters have urged local residents to be cautious with their heating appliances as the cold snap which started yesterday moves across much of the state.

Firefighters are concerned that as colder conditions arrive, people increase their use of heaters, electric blankets and clothes dryers.

“Firefighters were called to more than 1,100 home fires last winter, nearly one quarter of which were due to leaving household items such as electrical and heating appliances, and cooking, unattended,” Fire and Rescue NSW said in a statement.

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Ensure heaters meet safety standards.

“It’s cold and people are cooking more, using heaters to warm up the house, electric blankets to warm up their beds and putting clothes in the dryer,” FRNSW Assistant Director Community Safety and Research, Chief Superintendent Chris Lewis, said.

Never leave a heating appliance unattended

“NSW residents need to keep looking when cooking and never leave a heater, dryer, electric blanket, or any other electrical device unattended. Always turn them off when leaving the home or going to bed. Also remember to check the electrical cords for fraying and other damage before use.”

Firefighters are also reiterating warnings that outdoor heating and cooking appliances must not be brought indoors. This includes appliances that use ‘heat beads’ or LPG as a fuel source.

“This type of equipment is not suitable for indoor use and can lead to a build-up of carbon monoxide which can be fatal,” Chief Superintendent Lewis said.

“We are seeing people use home-made heaters, such as terracotta pots bolted together and placed on top of butane gas cookers, indoors. These types of make-shift heating devices not only put you at great risk of carbon monoxide poisoning but also starting a fire in your home.”

Check if heater meets standards

NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe urged householders to only use approved heaters that meet Australian Standards and to check whether their heater was on the national product recall list at recalls.gov.au.

“Fair Trading inspects thousands of electrical and gas products each year to ensure only approved products are being sold,” he said. “We need the assistance of the general public to be vigilant and to notify Fair Trading of any unsafe, unapproved or non-compliant products they may see.”

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