On average, more than one preventable fire-related death occurs in a residential context every week in Australia. (BNHCRC, 2020)
According to its 2020 report, The Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC found that most fatal residential fires occur during the winter months between the hours of 8 pm to 8 am (particularly, from midnight to 4 am).
The Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC study, undertaken by Risk Frontiers, the Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services Board (MFB) and Macquarie University for AFAC, draws on 14 years of data to understand preventable residential fire fatalities in Australia,
The report found that those most at risk of fatality from preventable house fire were;
- older people – people aged over 65 represented 36% of total fatalities
- young children aged zero to four – 8% of all fatalities
- people with a disability – 62%
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – over-represented by a factor of 2.5
- people who smoke – 65% were smokers
- people with medications (34%) or alcohol (33%) present in their blood
- males – represented 64% of all fatalities, particularly those aged over 45
- people who lived alone – 45%
- people who lived in the most socially and financially disadvantaged locations.
How can you reduce your risk of house-fire during winter?
According to the Queensland Government most house fires are preventable with vigilance and three simple steps.
1. Install quality, interconnected Smoke Alarms
From January 2027 all residential dwellings will be required to have photoelectric interconnected smoke alarms either hardwired (eg. 240v) or installed with a non-removable 10-year battery.
Smoke alarms must be installed in each storey, each bedroom, in hallways, living rooms and exits.
Smoke alarms should also be tested annually.
For more information visit QFES website – CLICK HERE
2. Identify fire and safety hazards in and around the home
Some common hazards include;
- Faulty and malfunctioning electrical appliances
- Old and damaged extension cords
- Candles, cigarettes and oil burners
- Flammable items in the kitchen and dirty stoves
- Portable heaters and faulty airconditioning units
- Open fireplaces
- Electric blankets and personal heaters in the bedroom
- Clothes dryers
- Poor storage/hygiene around flammable liquids, garden and pool chemicals
The Queensland Fire and Emergency Services offer a free SafeHome consultation service with a local firefighter that will help you identify and minimise the risk of fire. Phone 13 QGOV (13 74 68) to receive a Safehome kit and a Bushfire Preparedness package and book a SafeHome visit.
3. Create a home fire escape plan and practice it
Your home fire escape plan includes ensuring your smoke alarms are working, identifying two ways to escape every room in your house and agreeing on an evacuation meeting place.
To create your home fire escape plan CLICK HERE
What you need to know about your insurance and house fire
Fire cover is usually a standard inclusion in home and contents and landlord policies but there are some exclusions that can apply and insurance policies vary in their definition of fire and what is covered.
Common exclusions can include damage from cigarettes, damage from ash, soot and smoke when your home hasn’t caught on fire or malicious damage/ intentional arson.
Following the bushfire disaster last year, Choice completed an analysis of fire definitions in insurance policy PDSs and found that a “good” policy would include;
“Simple, clear, broadly applicable terms and definitions. Minimal exclusions and no potentially unfair terms*.” (CHOICE, April 2021)
It found that a number of direct to consumer policies had “borderline” or “bad” definitions that could leave an insured disproportionately or unreasonably disadvantaged.
To read the Choice article please CLICK HERE
For personalized advice about your insurance policy and a review of its inclusions/exclusions, please contact an Allsafe Broker today.