Home Heating Warnings This Winter

Tips To Save Your Home And Family

1 June 2017

Article heading image for Home Heating Warnings This Winter

As Adelaide shivvers through its equal coldest morning for the first day of winter since 1943, so to comes the warnings about heaters.

With the winter house fire season officially kicking off today, the MFS is urging South Aussies to take extra care when using any form of home heating.

Firing up un-flued gas heaters and appliances can lead to deadly Carbon Monoxide poisoning.

The 'silent killer' has no smell, taste or colour but can build up in un-ventilated rooms.

Symptoms include persistent tiredness, shortness of breath, headaches, nausea, vomiting and loss of consciousness.

Each year, one person dies unnecessarily due to a home heater fire.

Emergency Services Minister Peter Malinauskas says 'it's tragic that each year we lose an average of one life and see unnecessary injury and loss to preventable fires'.

The MFS and CFS respond to around 60 fires each year, caused by poorly maintained or incorrectly used heating equipment.

'We're asking all South Australians to play their part in preventing fires caused by home heating equipment this winter'.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Glenn Benham says to 'turn your heater off each time you leave your home, even for a short time'.

The MFS does not recommend leaving a fire burning overnight or while you're out.

'When choosing portable heating equipment make sure there's an automatic safety switch so that if the heater is accidentally tipped over, it turns off immediately' he said.

The most common causes of heating related house fires include:

- Heaters/fires located too close to items such as furniture, bedding or clothes on airers
- Heaters or fires left on in bedrooms overnight
- People becoming too warm and kicking bedding off onto the heater while they sleep

'Fires caused by heaters and fires are avoidable' Mr Malinauskas said.

It's best to have your appliances serviced by a licensed gas-fitter at least once every two years.

Quick tips for reducing winter fire risk:

- Check that heating equipment is in good working order, especially when taking appliances out of storage
- Clean air filters of ducted/reverse cycle units as per manufacturer's instructions
- Turn off heaters immediately that don't seem to be working properly
- Check suspect or faulty heating equipment, or throw it out all together

CFS State Coordinator Phil McDonough says 'it's very important to only use a metal bucket for hot ashes when cleaning out solid fuel fireplaces and allowing them to cool completely before disposing of the ash'.

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