The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
Picture of Chris Pearce

Chris Pearce

Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer

26 October 2004 - 3 December 2007

Speech of 29/06/2007

Launch of the ‘Fire Safety at Home: Be Prepared’ Booklet

Scoresby CFA Station,
Melbourne

29 June 2007

A special welcome today to all our guests and thank you for joining me for the launch of this very important public awareness initiative.

Winter is now well upon us and heaters, electric blankets and log fires are in everyday use in our homes. This makes it vital that we are all familiar with ways to reduce the risk of fire and also that we know how to respond in the event of a fire breaking out in our home.

Statistics from the National Coroners Information System indicate that between 2001 and 2006, more than 840 people died as a result of fire. Almost 200 of these deaths occurred in Victoria.

It is alarming to think that about half of all deaths from fire occur in people’s homes. However, there are many things that householders can do to help keep their families and their possessions safe from fires.

This booklet, ‘Fire safety at home: be prepared,’ is produced by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, with the assistance of FPA Australia, and contains valuable information about protecting your home from fire, including ten tips for fire safety at home and a room by room guide on preparing your home to prevent fire.

The appropriate use of fire safety equipment such as smoke alarms, fire blankets and portable fire extinguishers is also addressed in the booklet.

Smoke alarms have been mandatory in all dwellings in Victoria and South Australia since 1999. Evidence from the United States, where smoke alarms have been widely used for about 20 years, shows a reduction in house death fires of more than 50 per cent in those homes that have working smoke alarms installed. Australian data supports these figures.

Fire safety at home: be prepared’ explains where smoke alarms should be installed in the home and how they should be maintained to ensure their effectiveness. It also contains detailed information on the safe use of fire blankets and portable fire extinguishers, something I will demonstrate shortly.

I cannot stress enough the importance of households having appropriate fire safety measures in place, particularly over the winter months when fires occur more frequently. Simple measures, such as ensuring you have the appropriate fire safety equipment in your home, having a family fire evacuation procedure and knowing fire safety techniques could save you, or your family members, from serious injury or death.

Before I demonstrate the use of the fire blankets and portable fire extinguishers, I would like to thank you all again for attending today’s launch, and again thank the Fire Protection Association Australia for all their  assistance in keeping Australian homes safe from fire.

Today’s important messages have also been heard in homes all around Victoria through 3AW every evening this week, thanks largely to the Fire Protection Association Australia, which donated home fire safety packs that have been given away to 3AW’s listeners.

So thank you again Peter Johnson, president of FPAA and all your members and a big thankyou on behalf of the wider community to the members of the Country Fire Authority (CFA) in Melbourne’s Outer East, particularly those from the Scoresby brigade – your courageous and dedicated service to our community is truly outstanding and is appreciated by all.