House Safety


We all think that fire in the home or on our own properties will “never happen to us, that’s something that will always happen to someone else“.  BUT it’s a sad fact that every day around Australia,  preventable  fires occur in and around the home,  causing  loss  of  life,  untold  misery,  loss  of  valuable  property  and irreplaceable  personal  possessions. The Fire Service is committed to safeguarding people and their property throughout Western Australia from the threat of fire and other hazards, and provides advice and assistance to people about how to prevent situations that might lead to fires.

Please read on for more information:

  1. Fire safety in your home - PDF 1mb

Here are some facts about fires in residential properties.

  Between 1993 and 2001,  49 people have died in residential property fires in Western Australia.

  • Not surprisingly people aged between 0 and 4 years old,  and  the 65+ age group are mostly at risk in a home fire.
  • Heaters and discarded  cigarettes  are a major cause of fires in the home.
  • The majority of fires occur between midnight and 8am.
  • Accidental fires can be prevented in many cases !

There are precautions we can take to help prevent these fires and loss of life !  So read on and find out how !



Fire safety - Working fire alarms save lives - PDF 1.88mb

Smoke alarms provide early warning of fire and give valuable extra time to escape from a burning building.  

Remember that the majority of house fires occur at night while families are asleep. Many of the people who die in a house fire are overcome by the smoke and toxic fumes. A smoke detector will wake sleeping residents and give them more time to escape from a building.     ---     SMOKE DETECTORS SAVE LIVES.



There are two* types of smoke detectors :-

  1. Battery operated.
  2. Mains connected with battery backup.

1.  Battery operated.     smoke detectors are easy to install. They are available from hardware stores, department stores and many other outlets and cost from as little as $10 each and come with complete instructions on how and where to install them. These detectors can be installed “do it yourself” by most people.

2.  Mains connected.   smoke detectors are connected to the main electricity power supply and must be installed by a licensed electrician. They have a battery back-up

to operate them in the case of a power failure and instructions on how and where to install them. They can also be interlinkedtogether with other detectors in the same building so one detector will also activate all the others connected to it. This feature would be especially useful in large or multi-floor buildings, children’s bedrooms area connected to the parents section of the house etc.

*   There is also a third type of detector which can be connected to an intruder type alarm system or similar, and may be monitored by a security company, or the alarm panel may be programmed to contact persons via telephone’s, mobile or otherwise.

Smoke alarms may also be connected to various types of computerized home power control systems, and also linked to a variety of monitoring options.

For more information on this type of detector it would be a good idea to talk to a licensed alarm installation company or security company.


 The installation of smoke alarms is simple but positioning of detectors is important.

Manufactures installation instructions and recommendations must be adhered to in positioning detectors, but basically they are installed as follows :-

  • On or near the ceiling in :-
  • Hallways outside bedrooms or sleeping area’s.
  • Inside bedrooms.
  • Laundries.
  • Inside roof spaces etc.
  • Garages, work-shops and shed’s
  • In living area’s, family and lounge rooms.
  • On each level of a multi-story building.
  • ( Normally - but not always - detectors are not recommended too close to kitchens
  • Manufactures instructions and recommendations must always by followed.


  All alarms have a test button and should be tested every month by pushing the test button clearly marked. Be prepared for a loud noise while the test button is pushed.  (they may need to wake you up while you are asleep)

  • Alarms also have a low battery audible warning and a flashing light to warn you of low a battery, but don’t wait for the warning sound - change the battery every year. The national day for changing batteries is April 1st. April fool’s day - but don’t be a fool - change the batteries every year, even if you think they don’t need changing.
  • Clean your alarms every six months using a soft brush on a vacuum cleaner. This will help to prevent false alarms.
  • Don’t leave an alarm in your home without a battery installed.
  • If you live in a rented property, talk to your landlord or property manager about getting alarms installed. They are cheap, easy to install, can help minimize property loss in the event of a fire, may even enable insurance discounts, give peace of mind  --   AND CAN SAFE LIVES - YOU AND YOUR FAMILY.



Develop a good and simple escape plan. Be prepared - do it today. It may save your life or the life of one of your family. You need to plan in advance how to escape in case of fire :-

  • Ensure all household members (including children, visitors, elderly persons) know what to do in the event of a fire.
  • Identify at least two ways out of the house.
  • Check that security windows and doors can be opened from the inside. Keep keys close at hand. Be sure everyone knows where the keys are kept or hidden.
  • Consider discussing your emergency escape plans with friends, relatives and neighbours.
  • Practice home escape plans so that everyone knows what to do, including children.
  • Keep a good torch and your mobile phone near your bedside telephone.
  • In holiday accommodation, hotels etc, make sure everyone knows the layout of the residence and agree on a safe, well lit if possible, assembly point.
  • With a fire in a multi-story building, hotel etc. -- don’t use the lift.
  • Your escape plan should include a safe, well lit if possible, place to assemble outside after escaping the house. Once assembled, don’t leave the assembly area without informing other persons.


  • Exit immediately and close doors behind you to stop the spread of fire and smoke.
  • If you need to open a closed door, feel it carefully before opening. If it is hot to touch, do not exit through that door, use another way out.
  • If you are in a smoke filled room, the cleanest air will be near the floor - smoke rises. So you may need to keep low or crawl to the exit.
  • If your clothes catch on fire, STOP, DROP, COVER your face and ROLL to smother and put out the flames.
  • (    Once you are out of the building, call the   Fire Service,  dial  000       Tell the emergency operator the following details :-

                                                Your property address  -  house number.

                                                Street name and Nearest cross street or intersection


                                                Your name and any other relevant information that will help the Fire Service find the correct property quickly, - your house -  especially if it is hard to find. The emergency operator will ask you for these details.

  • Assemble at your pre-arranged assembly area and do not leave. Wait for the Fire Service to attend. Take instructions from persons in authority, Police, Fire Service personnel etc.




THE  KITCHEN. Many domestic fires start in the kitchen :-

  • When cooking - never leave food unattended on the stove.
  • Keep tea and paper towels and other combustible items away from cooking appliances.
  • Double check that stove control switches are properly turned off.
  • Take extra care when deep frying. Never throw water on burning oil !  Keep a fire extinguisher designed for use on oil and electrical fires close to the kitchen but not near the cooking appliances. Consider buying a fire blanket for emergency use in the kitchen. This blanket could be used to smother an oil fire on the stove. Alternatively use a large pot lid, chopping board or similar item to cover the fire.
  • On a slippery floor place a non slip mat in front of the stove to avoid accidents. 


  • Never smoke in bed.
  • Before each cold season, check electric blankets for wear - including the cord and plug. Switch off at the power point before retiring.  Never sleep on a blanket that is left turned on !   Store blankets according to the manufactures instructions. Never stick pins or sharp items in the blanket or bed coverings over the blanket.
  • Keep clothes away from heaters, never cover oil filled heaters.

THE  LIVING  ROOM.       Home heating is a major cause of domestic fires :-

  • Be sure open fires are out before going to bed. Surround open fires with a fine mesh guard and keep all combustible materials well away. Flue pipes should be cleaned before and during the winter season.
  • Keep heaters away from flammable materials such as curtains and clothes.
  • Properly extinguish cigarettes before leaving the room.
  • Use a battery torch lantern rather than candles during a power cut.
  • Place aromatherapy burners and similar items on a flat large non-flammable base a safe distance from open windows, curtains, furniture etc. and be sure they are properly extinguished after use.


  • Clean out the lint filter before each load in a clothes drier.
  • With wood fired water heaters, keep flammable materials away from the heater.
  • In sheds and work shops, clean up sawdust, keep power tools well maintained.
  • Don’t do  “do it yourself”  electrics. It’s not worth it. Use a licensed electrician.
  • Don’t let dry grass & other flammables  build up around the yard, behind the shed etc.
  • Keep fuel, paint thinners etc, in proper labelled containers & away from children.


  • Purchase a fire extinguisher that can be used on electrical and oil fires, and a fire blanket and keep them in an easy to get to location, away from the stove.
  • Install smoke detectors - they save lives.
  • Get an emergency plan for evacuation from your house, for you and your family.
  • Switch off and unplug electrical appliances when not in use.
  • Fully uncoil extension leads before use.
  • Never “do it your-self “ with electrics - if you have a fire, your insurance company may not pay out - always use a licensed electrician.
  • Check plugs, cords and power points for damage. Don’t use damaged electrical items.
  • Fit an electrical safety switch, called an RCD to your house. Some fires are caused by electrical faults. An RCD will monitor the power in a house, and apart from helping to protect you from getting an electric shock *, it will also help to guard against electrical faults in the wiring.

* An RCD will not protect you from electric shock in all situations.       *Always  take care with electricity !

  • If you are unsure of the wiring in your house, get it checked out by an electrician.
  • Keep fire breaks up to scratch on your property.
  • Keep trees away from your house in high risk fire prone areas.
  • Clean gutters of leaves and install gutter guards to keep leaves out.
  • Know the rules about fire ban’s, using BBQ’s etc. ask your local Shire for details.
  • Get advice about burning off, from the  Fire Service or your Shire Ranger.
  • Don’t let children play with matches.
  • Drive slowly through smoke at a bush fire.
  • Store flammable and hazardous materials correctly and safely on your property. Get to know the dangers involved with the hazardous materials that you use.
  • Keep a hose pipe connected to a tap and make sure it will reach all around your property.
  • If you have a fire hydrant at the front of your house, please keep the white painted metal lid set flush in the ground clear of overgrown grass, sand fill, shrubs etc. Do not park vehicles over the hydrant cover plate. The Fire Service may need to get to this hydrant in a hurry to fight a fire in your street, but hopefully not in your house!
  • For more information, contact Busselton Fire and Rescue.