The emerging hoverboard trend may be a fun hobby for some, but a house fire caused by the exploding device in Melbourne’s Strathmore proves it can pose as a serious fire risk.
Hoverboards now join the list of potentially dangerous electrical devices that are responsible for more than 3,000 Victorian house fires every year.
Common household items such as heaters and electric blankets are also listed as a fire risk if unattended.
According to the Country Fire Authority (CFA), most deaths associated with house fires are easily preventable. These simple precautions can be taken to make homes safer this summer.
VIDEO: Fire safety at home
Complete a home fire safety checklist
Basic precautions and setting good habits can make a huge difference in homes.
- Appliances such as gas heaters should be serviced regularly, while lint should be cleaned from dryers after every use.
- Products with frayed and damaged wiring, particularly in everyday items such as electric blankets, should also be disposed.
- Create a buffer zone around heating equipment and fireplaces, to prevent flammables from catching on fire.
- The most fire-prone area in the home is the kitchen. Keep stovetops clear of grease and flammable liquids. Flames should never be left unattended.
A simple home fire safety checklist can be found here.
Be prepared: Protecting your home from bushfires
Australian homes by law are required to have at least one working smoke alarm.
Although it is highly recommended that a smoke alarm be installed in every room.
- Smoke alarms should be powered by long-lasting 9V akaline batteries and tested once a month to ensure maximum reliability.
- Look for the AS3786 marking, it ensures smoke alarms meet Australian standards.
- Replace devices every 10 years.
People cannot smell smoke in their sleep, so a working fire alarm increases the chances of surviving a house fire by 60%. So what should happen in the case of a ringing alarm?
Implement emergency procedures
A well-rehearsed fire escape plan is essential to surviving a blaze at home. All family members – particularly children- should learn procedures to be well-prepared.
Ensure the following procedures are known to avoid disaster:
- If your clothes catch fire, stop, drop and roll
- Use a thick, woolen blanket to smother flames
- Have at least two safe exit options
- While escaping a fire, crawl towards the exit to avoid breathing in smoke. Make sure to use the back of your hand to check doors for heat and head to a designated meeting spot safe from the fire.
- Make sure all windows can be opened from the inside.
Remain alert in summer
The CFA says while most house fires begin in winter, families should also remain alert during the warmer months of the year.
“That doesn’t mean safety measures in the home should be abandoned after winter,” a CFA spokesperson said.
“Unattended cooking, faulty appliances and overloaded power boards are just some of the common causes of house fires that occur year-round.”
It’s never too late to implement safety measures to protect yourself and your loved ones. More information on fire protection can be found at theCFA website.