Fire risks heating up this winter

A HERVEY Bay firefighter has warned people to be cautious when using alternative fuels in a bid to beat power price rises.

Research from the 2014 RACQ Insurance Home Fire Safety Index shows 9.5% of Queensland householders admitted they were using barbecues to save on electricity bills, while about 8% switched to gas cook top appliances and 5.4% used candles for lighting.

RACQ executive manager insurance communications Mike Sopinski warned people to beware of the increased fire risk, particularly coming into colder winter weather.

"Clearly the rising cost of electricity has caused householders to use other sources of heat and light in their homes," he said.

"However, there are dangers with the use of these alternatives as it brings an increased risk of fires in the home."

Torquay Fire Station station officer Neil Probert outlined a few of the risks involved with alternative means of cooking.

"With barbecues, it is important to check the gas line and make sure it is in good condition," he said.

As for alternative lighting Mr Probert said the use of candles was always a cause for concern.

"Candles are a hazard. I've been to a number of houses where people have lost their home because the candles were on a windowsill and caught on to the curtains."

While the research shows 67.6% of home fires start in the kitchen, fire services are also warning people to be aware of heating hazards.

"People drying their clothes on or close to heaters also pose a fire risk, particularly bar heaters."

Topics:  hervey bay racq

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