Turning the heat on kitchen safety tips
Kitchen fires topped the list of fire insurance claims for RACV members in 2013. According to the data, 29% of house fires in 2013 started in the kitchen. Kitchen fire claims lodged by members dropped 11.8% and the cost of claims by 16.7% in 2013. However claims linked to the kitchen were still higher than other rooms, according to RACV general manager insurance, Paul Northey.
“Although kitchens were a primary fire danger zone, fires can start in any part of a home. Household appliances and fires in garages and sheds were the next major cause of house fires after the kitchen,” he says.
Paul warned everyday appliances could start fires if not properly maintained and used.
“The most common cause of appliance fires during the past five years was the dishwasher followed by microwaves,” he said.
In the past five years, fire claims have been consistent in both winter and summer, but the causes vary. Heaters, fireplaces and electric blankets were common causes in winter. Barbecues and mowers in garages and sheds were common causes in summer.
Paul encourages members to be careful around heaters and fireplaces in winter. He also encourages them to be careful doing mechanical repairs in the shed, using lawn mowers and power tools.
Paul said a working smoke alarm, approved fire blanket and fire extinguisher was essential.
“It is also timely to check your home and contents insurance to be assured that you have sufficient cover if your property is damaged by fire.”
The MFB and CFA have launched a new campaign to increase awareness of preventable mistakes. Find out more at the Safe Mistake Zone.
Tips to minimise house fire risk:
1. Ensure appliances are in good working order and that electrical cords are not worn
2. Do not leave food cooking unattended and do not allow yourself to be distracted while cooking
3. Ensure appliances are switched off when not in use
4. Do not overload electric power boards
5. Never leave open fires and candles unattended
6. Do not dry clothing less than one metre from heaters
7. Clean and test smoke alarms and replace batteries regularly
8. Never deadlock yourself inside your house – keep keys in the lock when you are at home
9. Clean lint filters in clothes dryers after every use
10. Do not smoke in bed