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Home heating system safety reminder this winter

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Victoria’s fire services are warning people of the fire dangers associated with heaters and to have heating systems regularly inspected as the cold weather sets in.

Fire Rescue Victoria, FRV, and Country Fire Authority, CFA, firefighters respond to an average of 3000 residential fire incidents across Victoria in a year with more than 240 starting from heating systems.

CFA acting chief officer Garry Cook said Victorians should have their gas and electrical heaters serviced every two years.

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CFA has responded to 23 heater fire incidents this winter.

“We know from last year’s data that most fires that resulted in serious injuries and fatalities started in lounge rooms and sleeping areas … and were mostly sparked by heating systems that at times were not working properly [or were] located too close to flammable materials,” he said.

People are reminded not to leave drying clothes too close to heating systems and to be mindful about turning systems off before going to sleep or leaving the house.

FRV commissioner Gavin Freeman said the colder months were some of the riskiest times of the year for fires in the home and that most fires were preventable.

“Taking a few moments to check your heaters and fireplaces before winter sets in could mean the difference between life and death,” he said.

FRV and CFA also recommend people never leave heating systems unattended; supervise children around heaters; have their heaters serviced every two years to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning and fires; and to purchase and install smoke alarms then test them monthly.

Victorians are urged to remember to place smoke alarms near bedrooms and living areas.

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