For want of a smoke alarm

Dandenong Fire Station. Picture: BLAIR DELLEMIJN

By Casey Neill

A house fire is four times more likely to turn deadly if there’s no working smoke alarm.
This was one of the stark warnings from Dandenong Fire Station officer in charge Paul Carrigg.
Nine people died in the more than 3200 preventable home fires that occurred across the state last year, new figures show.
Mr Carrigg said not having a working smoke alarm also increased the chances of property damage by 57 per cent and serious injury by 26 per cent.
“The most common fires involved unattended cooking, heating, electrical appliances, wiring and smoking,” he said.
More than 40 per cent of fires started in the kitchen.
A Dandenong teen suffered severe burns when he tried to move a pan of oil that caught alight on Monday 8 August.
Paramedics were called to the Langhorne Street home about 5.40am and found the victim with burns to his neck, chest, arms and legs.
He was taken to The Alfred in a serious condition.
“Most house fires are caused by someone making a mistake – a moment of carelessness, forgetfulness or neglect,” Mr Carrigg said.
“Never leave your cooking unattended. Small distractions can lead to serious injury and damage.”
He said candles, incense and oil burners should be kept away from anything that could catch fire, and should not be left unattended.
“Be careful not to overload your power boards and only use power boards with overload protection,” he said.
Mr Carrigg said clothes dryer owners should clean the lint filter after each load of washing.
Other advice included keeping clothing and curtains at least one metre away from heaters.
“Don’t deadlock yourself inside your home. If you feel you must, keep the keys in your deadlocks for an easy exit,” he said.

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