WITH winter upon us, I approached the local fire station and was given information on fire safety.
Each year up to 4500 fires occur in homes, most starting in kitchens (about 2000), 1000 of these caused by cooking or having combustible material near power points (about 600).
Smoke alarms are compulsory. They need vacuuming twice a year and new batteries every year. If you buy a 9V battery, NSW Fire and Rescue will fit it.
Do you have an escape plan in case of fire in your home? Locked doors and locked or barred windows are good for security but not in the case of fire. When in the house, keep keys near locked doors and windows.
If possible isolate the fire by closing doors. Keep low and ring 000 and don't re-enter. If possible turn off all power at the power box and then all meet at a certain place, for example the letterbox.
For prevention, check electric blankets for hot spots and ensure heaters and clothes dryers are in good condition. Some fan heaters suck up fluff off floors or carpets.
Do not leave the house or go to sleep leaving electric appliances on, or open fires or candles alight. Have guards fitted in front of open fires.
With power points don't exceed 2400 watts. If possible have an extinguisher or fire blanket near the kitchen door.
IF YOU are going away tell your neighbours, have them pick up your papers and mail and if they have a spare vehicle park it in your drive.
Also leave a contact number with a neighbour.
Leave low wattage outside lights on permanently or on timer.
Ring 131 003 if you have a street light out in your area.
The poles are numbered.
If you see anyone acting suspiciously, ring the police on 4232 5599 for Lake Illawarra or ring Crimestoppers on free call 1800 333 000.
If you see a crime in progress, ring 000 but if you are reporting it afterwards, ring 131 444.
Frank Gavin, co-ordinator