Fires occur all year round, however, they are much more common when the temperature dips during the cooler months.  This is because many people spend more time indoors cooking and using electrical appliances such as space heaters and electric blankets.  There’s a lot of responsibility on building managers to do everything possible to prevent fire from occurring, so here are a few easy-to-follow tips to help you protect your building and your tenants from fire this winter.

Winter fire safety and heater use

Remind your tenants that gas and electric heaters need to be checked before use. If they think an item has a fault, it must be checked by a qualified professional or replaced. All cords need to be checked for damage and heaters should be plugged directly into wall sockets only.  Powerboards shouldn’t be overloaded, and everything must be kept a metre from the heater.  Remember, heaters should only be installed by professionals and used only as per the manufacturer’s instructions.

 Electric blankets need to be used properly

Electric blankets can cause serious damage when not used properly. They need to be tested before use and cords and controls should be inspected for damage. Fire and Rescue NSW advises that you turn your electric blanket on for 5 minutes and then feel for any uneven hot spots. If you notice any abnormalities, the electric blanket should be replaced. Remember that electric blankets are made to warm the bed up, they are not designed to be used while sleeping.

Test smoke alarms every six months

You’ve heard it before, but you will not smell smoke while you’re sleeping. So, make sure you test your smoke alarms and inform your tenants to do the same.  Smoke alarms have a lifespan of ten years, you will need to check that they are still in date.  Every six months you should give smoke alarms a vacuum, this will assist to remove dust and any insects that may have become lodged.  To meet legal requirements, you must have at least one working smoke alarm on each level of a home. It’s also a good idea to have one in each bedroom, ideally hardwired and interconnected.

Create an escape plan and practice evacuation

An important aspect of winter fire safety is having an escape plan for your tenants, this will greatly increase everyone’s chances of getting out of a building fire safely.

When you develop your escape plan, consider that children, the elderly, or disabled will have special needs.  You also need to make sure that any windows and doors are not obstructed and can be unlocked and opened quickly in case of a fire or emergency. Get everyone to practice the escape plan at least every six months.

Have the right fire system for your building

Does your building need sprinklers? How many fire extinguishers and fire blankets are necessary? The fire-safety requirements that apply to your building will be determined by the National Construction Code (NCC).  Each building class carries different fire safety requirements so it’s best to refer to the NCC.  Fire safety requirements can be complicated, so if in doubt, speak to an expert. At Global Fire, we can help you with your specific needs.  We’ll help you determine the best fire system for your property and provide you with a wide range of fire protection solutions to stay safe this winter, call us now on 1300 88 70 18 or email