Home Fire Safety Tips in Wollongong

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Protect your family with our handy guide

The tragedy of house fires is unfortunately all too common for residents in the Wollongong area. In May 2015 a young family were lucky to escape their burning home in Warrawong, which had no smoke alarms installed. Just a month later an injured man was lucky to escape his burning home in Unanderra, which was completely gutted by the fire, and in July a unit in a Wollongong apartment block was badly damaged by a fire believed to have been caused by an electrical fault.

Don’t let your home and family fall victim to the tragedy of a house fire. Protect yourselves with these hints and tips.

Smoke detectors save lives

We all hear this message again and again….but when was the last time you checked your home had working smoke detectors, and replaced the batteries? If you’re not sure, then do it – today. Don’t run the risk. All homes in NSW, including rental properties, must have smoke alarms installed.

What sort of smoke alarm should I get?

You may have heard of photoelectric smoke alarms – but what are they?

There’s two types of smoke alarms. The first is an ionisation alarm, and these comprise about 90% of smoke alarms in Australian homes. They detect combustion and respond to the heat and flame of a fire that is already underway.

The second type of smoke alarm, and the type that comes more recommended, is a photoelectric alarm. These ‘see’ the smoke before a fire takes hold, giving you and your family more warning and time to respond and get to safety.

For more information on types of smoke alarms, read this handy guide from Fire & Rescue NSW.

If your home doesn’t have smoke detectors, or they need updating, get some now. Home and hardware stores like Bunnings in Wollongong, Warrawong and Shellharbour sell everything you need to protect your home from fire danger – photoelectric smoke alarms, fire extinguishers and fire blankets.

Have a fire escape plan, and practice it

Discuss with your family or flatmates how you’ll get to safety if a fire breaks out, especially if one occurs while you’re sleeping. It’s very important that you prepare and practice an escape plan, that everyone knows what the smoke alarm sounds like, and knows what to do in an emergency. Draw up and practice a fire escape plan.

Use electrics safely

House fires are often caused by faulty electrical appliances, or by the incorrect use of heaters and air conditioners. Follow these simple tips to keep your home protected.

  • Always position clothes, newspapers and magazines and any other flammable materials at least one metre from any heater.
  • When choosing a portable heater or air conditioner, select a model that has an automatic safety switch that will turn it off if it gets tipped over.
  • Position portable heaters and air conditioners away from areas of heavy traffic.
  • Always turn off your heater or air conditioner when going to bed or leaving the house.
  • Keep portable electric heaters and air conditioners away from wet areas to avoid the possibility of electric shock.
  • Regularly check the power cords of appliances for any damage. If you ever have any concerns about the safety of your electrical appliances, contact an electrician.
  • Don’t overload power points or use double adaptors. Where necessary, instead use a 4 outlet power board that has overload protection.

Support for house fire victims

If you, or someone you know, has been victim to a house fire, this guide from NSW Fire & Rescue may help.