Blazes prompt warning

THE Rural Fire Service (RFS) is asking Tweed residents to secure their properties and be wary of fire danger following two house fires in one week.

Last week, the Tweed Daily News reported on the Strickland family, who lost everything when fire razed their Crabbes Creek home on June 27.

In the early hours of June 24, a house in Burringbar also burnt to the ground.

Neighbours of the Burringbar home told the Tweed Daily News they were concerned for their own properties at the time of the blaze, while firefighters said that if the region had not had so much rain the fires could have easily spread.

Laurence McCoy, RFS community safety officer, said people living on rural properties should always be wary of fire danger.

“At the end of the day, it's always the same message,” Mr McCoy said.

“Make sure your home is fitted with smoke alarms.

“Don't leave candles, heat- ers or cooking unattended and don't hang clothes or towels from heaters.”

The RFS recommends regular testing of smoke alarms.

It also advises people to have a written home escape plan with a meeting place.

“Make sure keys to locked doors are nearby in case you need to escape,” Mr McCoy said.

“In winter, people need to take extra care when using heaters, electric blankets or open fires.”

He said despite the recent wet weather, people still needed to be prepared.

The NSW Fire Brigade says winter is the worst time of year for fires in the home.

In 2008, the two most common causes of winter house fires in NSW were cooking that was left unattended and electrical fires caused by heating appliances.

“Don't leave heating appli- ances on all day,” the fire brigade's website says.

“Maintain a gap of no less than one metre between flammable objects and a heat source such as heaters.

“If you have a fireplace, ensure your chimney is in good working order, use a fireplace screen and make sure the flue is correctly installed.

“Never leave children unsupervised around open fires.

“Clean the lint filters in your clothes dryer after each use and never leave a dryer operating when you're out of the house.

“Clean the lint filter at the rear of the dryer every few months.”

In December 2008, Tweed resident Julie Convine and her family also lost everything when fire tore through their Banora Point home.

For more information on securing your home, visit www.bushfire.nsw.gov.au or www.nswfb.nsw.gov.au.



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