From checking smoke alarms, electric blankets and property heating right though to mould assessment and slippage risks, we've listed our top winter smart safety tips to make your home as safe as possible.
Firstly, with more property fires occurring in winter than any other time of the year, it’s important that homeowners and tenants check all smoke alarms – test batteries monthly and clear dust regularly.
It’s also vital to be aware of the four types of open-flued gas heaters that have recently been the subject of safety alerts. Some of them might be a lot newer than you would think. Winter smart safety tips include:
1. If your property isn’t fitted with a smoke alarm, fit one immediately or - if renting - call your property manager.
2. Use and maintain electric blankets according to their instructions (to avoid overheating as well as potential fires) and replace if more than 10 years old – only use electric blankets to warm the bed and always switch off prior to getting in.
3. If your gas heater doesn’t have a flue, service it regularly (every 2 years by a licensed gas fitter) and make sure the room it's used in is well ventilated – never use an un-flued gas heater in rooms with no permanent ventilation
4. Properties with fireplaces need to ensure the chimney has been swept every 12 months and that the fireplace is properly ventilated with a screen in front of it when it is in use.
Lastly, check and monitor product recalls and national safety alerts via www.productsafety.gov.au
5. Poor ventilation in a home is the main cause of mould – with shorter days, less sunshine and windows mostly kept closed, windows and walls can become traps for mould.
Just recently, four open flued gas heaters (Regency i31 – purchased after 1 January 2010, Regency F38 and FG38 – purchased after 1 January 2006, Nectre 2000 – manufactured from 2007 and Real Flame Pyrotech – manufactured from 2012) failed safety tests and a national safety alert was issued for owners to stop using them.