Firefighters fear dangerous winter ahead

An demonstration blaze shows how quickly a fire can take hold. Photo: Megan Dunn.
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The summer bushfires, a global pandemic and now the dangers of winter.

The challenges just keep coming for emergency services, with Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) last week demonstrating just how quickly a living room can be consumed by fire.

The chilling example launched FRNSW’S winter safety campaign.

Within minutes the room was completely engulfed in flames, sending an important message to families who may be spending more time at home in the colder months.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott, who attended the demonstration at Londonderry, acknowledged the hazard fatigue the community may be experiencing but said it is no time for complacency.

“We’ve had a community that’s gone through a pandemic, bushfires, in March we had serious storms and of course the ongoing drought has created this notion that when you’re at home you are safe but what we have seen today is that you’re not necessarily safe at home,” he said.

David Elliott speaking to the media at Londonderry. Photo: Megan Dunn.

“Firefighters spent a tumultuous summer protecting NSW residents from the fires raging outside the home, but now is the time for residents to take care, listen to the experts and ensure your families are protected from the dangers inside the home.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has also seen many people rightly using more hand sanitiser, but they must be reminded that sanitiser contains flammable alcohol and they must ensure their hands are completely dry before coming into contact with a naked flame.”

As part of the Winter Safety Program, FRNSW will be digitally opening their doors for an open week where people can learn how to protect their home.

“This Open Day, our firefighters will walk you through how to check your smoke alarms and help you come up with a fire escape plan via Facebook Live,” Acting Commissioner Jeremy Fewtrell said.

Mr Fewtrell said winter is the time when they see an increase in residential house fire related fatalities.

“Don’t put your family at risk this winter, check that all your appliances are switched off and ensure that open fires have been fully extinguished. If we all do our bit to minimise the risks in our homes, we can all stay safer together,” he said.

Acting Commissioner Jeremy Fewtrell.

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