Deputy Premier and Minister for Emergency Services Peter Ryan today urged Victorians to be vigilant against fire this winter when the likelihood of house fires can increase by up to 20 per cent.
Mr Ryan joined a young burns victim at the Royal Children’s Hospital burns unit to officially launch the joint CFA and MFB Winter Fire Safety campaign and warn Victorians about the high fire safety risks this time of year.
“The Royal Children’s Hospital burns unit is a stark reminder of the human cost of fire ,” Mr Ryan said.
“In 2011 six people tragically lost their lives in residential fires in Victoria, three more than in the year prior. There were 1,04 2residential fires in total last winter causing $20 million worth of estimated damage.
“This winter the CFA and MFB have a very clear message to Victorians – they have an individual responsibility to be vigilant to help minimise the fire risk.”
Mr Ryan said unattended cooking remained the single biggest cause of domestic fires throughout the year with more than one-third of residential fires started in the kitchen.
“The number of fires in bedrooms, caused by heating equipment, also increases dramatically during the winter months, while blocked chimneys can also be a hazard,” Mr Ryan said.
Mr Ryan said the Winter Fire Safety campaign would use a combination of advertising and educational materials that focused on fire prevention in the home.
“The CFA and MFB will be targeting key community groups including schools and maternal child health centres as well as vulnerable groups such as the elderly,” Mr Ryan said.
The CFA and MFB are asking everyone across the state to start their own winter safety campaign by being vigilant, planning ahead and:
• checking that the smoke alarms in your house work;
• plan how you would get out of your house if there was a fire; and
• be aware of fire risks in the home.
For more information visit www.homefiresafety.com.au.
Media contact: Sonia Heath 0413 485 526