The Queensland Fire and Rescue Service (QFRS) is reminding residents to stay safe when keeping warm this winter by making sure chimneys and fireplaces are in good working order.
Each winter, firefighters attend to multiple house fires which occur as a result of a blocked chimney, unprotected fireplace or open flames.
QFRS North Coast Region Assistant Commissioner John Watson said residents could become complacent with chimney maintenance when fire places weren’t used regularly.
“I urge homeowners to ensure their chimney is thoroughly cleaned before using their fireplace, to avoid fire and smoke danger,” Mr Watson said.
“Avoid using an accelerant and, if possible, use seasonal hardwood and dry timber to reduce smoke.”
Mr Watson also reminded residents to never leave a fireplace unattended and to have a guard or screen in place to prevent burning embers from floating into the surrounding area.
“Embers can easily escape a fireplace that doesn’t have a guard, and can set alight combustible materials in seconds,” he said.
“Never, under any circumstances, leave a fire unattended or leave children or pets unsupervised near an open fire or slow combustion heater.
“Never place hot ashes in household bins or council bins – only cold, fully extinguished ashes should be deposited in bins. Have a metal bucket which you use only for ash.”
Mr Watson also urged residents in north coast region to take care with candles, matches and lighters.
“Always extinguish open flames before going to bed or leaving the home. Store matches and lighters in a secure place, not accessible to children,” he said.
If a house fire does occur, residents are urged to leave immediately and call Triple Zero (000) from a safe place.
The QFRS offers a free home fire safety visit. To book your Safehome visit, call 13 QGOV (13 74 68) or visit www.fire.qld.gov.au. Safehome is proudly supported by NRMA Insurance.