It’s winter and it’s cold. We’re all trying to stay warm, but we also need to be safe.

Insurers see an average 33% spike in domestic fire claim volumes in winter, compared to summer and spring.

QBE Insurance has conducted research that shows 73% of Australians engage in behaviours that expose them to home fire risk.

Here are some basic activities that can help reduce your fire risk.

1: Empty the lint filter in your tumble dryer.

Almost 60% of Australians surveyed by QBE don’t clean lint filters after every use and, of those, 29% have never emptied the filter or can’t remember when it was last cleaned. Lint produced in the drying process can reduce ventilation and cause overheating. Clear lint at least every three months and more often if you use the dryer daily. Never leave home while the dryer is operating.

2: Regularly check your heaters’ safety.

Inspect gas and electric heaters at the start of each winter and more often, depending on your usage. Service gas heaters at least every two years, using a licensed gasfitter who can test for carbon monoxide spillage. Check outdoor heaters, fireplaces and firepits, too, and never leave them unattended. QBE’s research shows the source for one in five major domestic fire damage claims is outside the main dwelling.

3: Don’t leave cooking unattended.

This is a major cause of home fires in Australia and 73% of people surveyed have stepped away while cooking and 22% admit doing it frequently. Stepping away even for just a minute can lead to a fire.

4: Clean your kitchen regularly.

Neglected kitchens can be hazardous – 59% of those surveyed don’t regularly clean kitchen appliances and 50% don’t regularly clean their ovens. Grease, grime and crumbs can accumulate, creating a fire hazard, particularly for ovens.

Empty toaster crumb trays often and clean the oven and barbeque at least every three months. Wipe out the microwave after use. Turn off and unplug electric appliances when they’re not in use as they continue to draw electricity. even when they’re off. So if the wiring is old or faulty, a fire could occur.

5: Don’t charge devices on or near your bed.

More than 60% of those surveyed and 83% aged 21–34 years, charge phones, tablets or laptops in or next to their beds. If charging devices have inadequate ventilation, they can overheat and malfunction.

6: Be prepared.

The research found most people are ill-prepared for fires. About 70% don’t have a fire blanket or extinguisher in their homes and most don’t have fire evacuation plans.

Test smoke alarms regularly and change their batteries as recommended by the equipment manufacturer or safety regulations in your state or territory.

Review your home insurance to ensure you have adequate protection.

To discuss your risk management and insurance requirements, please contact:

John Davaine     M 0413 610 523            E

John G Duncan  M 0418 976 772            E

Tim Ross             M 0419 251568             E



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