Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) is urging south-west residents use caution around the home this winter.

Firefighters are called to house fires year-round, however there’s approximately an 11% increase in house fires during the cooler months. 

QFES South West Region Assistant Commissioner Steve Smith said crews attended more than 80 structure fires in the winter months alone last year.

“Our firefighters attended almost one structure fire every day for the 92 official days of winter,” Mr Smith said.  

“This is a staggering figure caused by a number of factors, such as unattended cooking, incorrectly disposed matches and heating equipment placed too close to flammable items.

“House fires can be easily prevented by using caution around the home.

“This includes checking appliances for fraying or exposed cords, taking care when using matches, lighters and candles, and making sure flammable materials aren’t placed too close to curtains or bedding.

“A lot of house fires start in the kitchen so make sure you always keep an eye on what you’re cooking and never leave it unattended.” 

 Mr Smith said safety measures were essential when using fireplaces and coal pits. 

“Hot coals can continue to burn for up to 48 hours so it’s important they are disposed of correctly,” he said.

“They should be quenched with water in a steel bucket before being emptied, and avoid smothering hot coals in sand or dirt as it will trap the heat in.

“Never leave fires unattended, and ensure children, pets and flammable objects are kept at least one metre away from the fire.

“If you’re using a match to light the fire, ensure you dispose of the match correctly.”

Mr Smith said residents should also utilise the free Safehome service to help identify fire and safety hazards around the home. 

“Safehome is an initiative by QFES aimed at reducing house fires and giving participants an understanding of the risks in and around their home,” he said.

“Firefighters advise residents on the correct positioning of smoke alarms and other fire safety concerns, with the visit taking no longer than 45 minutes.

“One short visit is all it takes to help make your home safer.”

For more information on Safehome, smoke alarm legislation and general fire safety information visit www.qfes.qld.gov.au