Queensland Fire and Emergency (QFES) is urging residents to ensure they have carried out fire safety checks around their homes with crews already attending more than 27 structure fires across central Queensland since the beginning of May 2020.

QFES Director Regional Operations, Central Region, Steve Smith said 19 of the 27 structures had been house or unit fires.

“These include eight house fires in the Rockhampton Regional Council area alone since the start of May,” Mr Smith said.

“Gladstone, Mackay, Central Highlands and Livingstone council areas have accounted for the remaining 11 residential structure fires.

“Since 2012, Rockhampton is actually the highest risk area outside of Logan for severe house fires.

“This is based on several factors including how long our crews have spent at an incident, how many crews responded and the number of house or unit fires that spread from rooms of origin.

“Given we have only recently passed the halfway mark of this winter, we want people to ensure they are doing everything they can to keep these sorts of incidents to as few as possible.”

Mr Smith said residents should carry out fire safety checks around the home, including of electrical appliances.

“Fireplaces, heaters and electric blankets are often used when cold weather sets in which is why we see an increase in residential fires during winter,” he said.

“A common cause of house fires is faulty equipment, and overloading of power points and equipment. The condition of electrical items should be checked regularly for faults.

“Don’t put yourself of your family at risk, check all your appliances are safe to use before switching on.

“Before you leave the house or go to bed, ensure appliances are switched off and that open fires have been fully extinguished.

“These are important actions people can take to ensure themselves and their families or households stay safe.”

Steps to prepare your home against the risk:

  • Check all electrical items for damage and do not use if damaged.
  • Install an electrical safety switch and use only one appliance per power point.
  • Regularly clean your oven, stovetop, rangehood, clothes dryer and air-conditioner filters.
  • Store matches and lighters in a service area away from high risk fire areas.
  • Turn off your electric blanket at night
  • Do not use outdoor heating and cooking equipment inside your home.

For more information about winter home fire safety, visit https://www.qfes.qld.gov.au/community-safety/