WA families urged to be cautious in the kitchen this winter

01 July 2015

New data from SGIO has revealed more than a third (31%) of Western Australian house fires start in the kitchen, while faulty appliances were responsible for 15 per cent of residential blazes in the last year1.

SGIO is warning Western Australian families to take particular care over the coming months, as the vast majority of residential house fires occur during winter. SGIO spokesperson Hannah Dunn said it’s important WA households are reminded where blazes most commonly start and how easily and quickly they can spread.

“Kitchen fires have the potential to spread quickly, often jumping to curtains or cupboards in a matter of seconds and commonly start from people leaving their cooking unattended,” said Ms Dunn.

SGIO also revealed the top electrical goods which have caused hundreds of WA house fires over the past five years, including:

  • 1. Air-conditioners (28%)
  • 2. Microwaves (12%)
  • 3. Dishwashers (9%)
  • 4. Refrigerators (8%) and Washing Machines (8%)2

“When it comes to electrical appliances, people need to make sure they are in good working order, properly installed and the cords are regularly checked for fraying and damage which could cause a spark,” said Ms Dunn.

“It’s also important to frequently clean electrical devices including air conditioners, toasters and the filter on clothes dryers to help prevent fuelling a fire.

”To help reduce the risk of electrical fires, be careful not to overload double adapters, power boards and be sure to only use quality electrical equipment.”

With a wide range of power boards and adapters available on the market it is recommended WA households use equipment carrying Australian Standard 3105 Approval.3

To help prevent and prepare for a home fire, SGIO recommends households:

  • Stay in the kitchen while cooking on the stove;
  • Call 000 immediately if a fire does break out that cannot be safely and quickly controlled;
  • Install a smoke alarm(s) and test monthly. If you have battery-operated alarms, change the batteries at least once a year;
  • Have an evacuation plan and make sure everyone in the house knows and practices it;
  • Keep a fire extinguisher and fire blanket at hand near the kitchen;
  • Never use water to put out a cooking oil fire – water will only ignite the oil; and
  • Don’t key-lock deadlocks on doors when at home in case you need to leave in a hurry

With recent reports of fires caused by faulty Samsung washing machines, the insurer also called for owners of Samsung washing machines to check if their product was part of the 2013 safety recall:

1 SGIOhome claims data 2010–14.

2 SGIO home claims data 2010–14.


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