Despite Queensland’s Winter not being any kind of snowy wonderland, the start of any season is a great time to do a general safety check around the home. It’s a quick process and ensures you and your family are kept safe as the months cool down this 2019.
Data from all Australian Fire Services show that the increased risk of house fires during Winter is often due to higher usage of electrical appliances. Simple steps such as checking for exposed wiring, frayed cords and loose connections on electrical appliances will help keep things safe (and warm!).
We’ve put together some of our top essential tips for keeping your house safe from electrical hazards this Winter…
Electric Heaters - safety first...
Heaters are one of the greatest users of electricity during Winter. It may seem obvious, but it’s worth reviewing and ensuring these safety practices are in place before the cold season hits:
Supervise kids and pets around heaters. Make sure the heater isn’t left anywhere it could be knocked over by your cat or toddler and that it’s on a stable, flat ground.
Check for any power cords or plugs damaged as well as dust build-up especially around filters. If your heater has been in storage during the warmer months, doing a thorough check of the condition is essential.
Ensure a 1 metre distance to wet clothing, curtains or any other potentially flammable materials.
Leaving the room? Turn the heater off! Make this your #1 Winter rule!
Electric blankets - remember the basics!
As snug as they are, electric blankets can be a huge electrical hazard during Winter time. A few things to always check when using a heated blanket include:
If you haven’t used your blanket since last year or earlier, double check the Australian Recalls Site to check it’s still good to use. ACCC stated an estimated 400,000 blankets have been deemed unsafe since 2010. Don’t risk it!
Checking for any hot spots when the blanket is warming up. Hot spots can indicate damage to the heating element and if so, should not be used.
When storing your blanket, ensure it is completely cooled down first and roll the blanket instead of folding - this ensures no damage to the heating elements inside.
Turn the blanket off at the powerpoint before getting into bed. Safety first!
Check your smoke alarms!
The most simple tip of them all, but one we often see left ’til last! Making sure your smoke alarm battery is up to date by pushing the button each week can be a literal life saver. Also, make sure alarms are clean and free from any dust or cobwebs as this can affect the durability and effectiveness. Did you know your smoke alarm should be changed every 10 years? How long have you had yours?
Extra tips to remember:
Use a portable outdoor gas heater? Outdoor heaters need regular safety checks and should be serviced every 2 years. If your heater is showing any signs of radiant panels that burn yellow, produce soot or if you see any gas flames, have it inspected before using.
Only use purpose-built heaters in bathrooms, wet areas and outdoors.
Do a thorough check of any appliances that have been packaged away in storage for some time. If they’re looking aged or show signs of any damage, have a licensed electrician inspect before using.
Test your safety switches!
We also recommend using the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services simple safety checklist - because being safe is worth the few minutes it takes! Check out the free checklist here.
Need electrical assistance or maintenance? We’re available throughout Brisbane and the Gold Coast 24/7. Contact us here or call us on 1800 940 413.