Peak electrical industry body, the National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA), is urging residents to undertake four simple steps to help make their homes safe after a spate of house fires on the weekend.
Across Australia during this winter there have been many house fires. In New South Wales alone there were 35 house fires on the weekend and three tragic deaths.
NECA’s chief executive officer, Mr James Tinslay, said the loss of life and property from recent house fires is disastrous and must be a reminder for residents to ensure their homes are safe.
There are four very easy steps residents can follow that will certainly assist in making their homes safer and this can help to prevent house fires.
1. The first step is ensuring you have a working smoke alarm.
“Smoke alarms do save lives and all residents should have them installed. If your smoke alarm is not hard-wired, changing the battery regularly is critical. Choosing an annual date for your calendar to remind you to change the battery is a simple but effective method to ensure your smoke alarm is always working,” Mr Tinslay said.
“If you only have a battery operated smoke alarm, for extra peace of mind you can have a hard-wired smoke alarm installed by a licensed electrician.”
2. The second step is having a safety switch installed.
“Safety switches can detect many electrical faults and shut off the electricity. This can prevent some faults that are the cause of house fires. All new and renovated homes are required to have safety switches installed.“
“However, there are older homes out there that still do not have safety switches and residents should rectify this,” Mr Tinslay said.
3. The third step is ensuring your wiring is safe.
“Many older homes out there have wiring that would not meet today’s legislation or best practice. This is a big problem because the old wiring and circuits were not designed to cater for the increased electrical demands of modern day homes. Overloading old circuits can cause overheating that can lead to house fires,” Mr Tinslay said.
“Residents that are concerned about their old wiring should arrange for their local licensed electrician to conduct an inspection.”
4. The fourth step is getting your insulation inspected
“Residents that are concerned about possible fire and electrical hazards after receiving either foil or non-foil insulation under the failed government insulation scheme should arrange for an inspection.
“The government safety hotline is 13 17 92 and worried residents who want an inspection can arrange one with the federal government department responsible for conducting the safety inspections,” Mr Tinslay said.
Radio / Voice Grabs: Radio grabs from NECA CEO Mr James Tinslay are available from the media release section of NECA's website at http://www.neca.asn.au/index.php/news_media/media_releases_2010/
Interviews: Mr Tinslay is also available for interviews.