"House fires happen everyday. The biggest tragedy is that the majority of house fires are preventable.".
Who's most at risk of dying in a house fire?
The Australasian Fire Authorities Council (AFAC) published a report in March 2005 detailing the findings of a national study into residential fire deaths in Australia and New Zealand.
The AFAC Report indicates that the groups of people at risk from dying in house fires are;
- children under the age of 4 years old,
- people over the age of 65 (with vulnerability increasing with age),
- and adults affected by alcohol.
General findings show that more deaths occurred during sleeping hours of the cooler months, May to September.
Most fires occurred in owner-occupied houses and were mainly caused by electrical faults, smoking materials, heaters, open fires and lamps.
Smoke alarms were not fitted in most of the homes where deaths occurred and in those that did have them, 31% of them were not working.
If you have people in your care that fit within these vulnerable groups it is recommended that you read the following information and put measures in place ensure the risk to these people is minimised. If you can't find the answer to your questions within these pages please contact us for assistance.
Have a plan:
- Conduct fire drills with the whole family.
- Agree on a place to meet outside.
If Fire Strikes:
- Get everybody out of the house.
- Meet at the designated place.
- Call the Fire Service on 000.
- Do not go back inside.
- If fire is small and localised, extinguish the fire if it is safe to do so
- Keep wallets and handbags easily accessible
Stop, Drop, Cover and Roll:
- If clothes catch fire: STOP, DROP AND ROLL to smother flames while covering your face with your hands.
- To help someone else, throw a woollen blanket over them if they catch alight.
If there´s smoke get down low and go, go, go:
- In a fire the safest area for breathing is near the floor where the air is cooler and cleaner.
- Get down low and crawl to safety.
Know basic first aid:
- Clean cold water cools burns and lessens the pain.
- Do not use butter, ice, cotton wool or ointments on burns.
- Do not remove burnt clothing from skin.
Install home fire fighting extinguisher:
- Every home should have a properly maintained fire extinguisher and fire blanket.
 'Accidental Fire Fatalities in Residential Structures - Who's at Risk?' (March 2005) Australasian Fire Authorities Council, Melbourne, Australia.
See the following important information: