Fire and Rescue prepare community for winter fire risks

House fires are on the increase due to the new risks associated with lithium batteries.

WINTER is traditionally NSW Fire and Rescue’s busiest season for attending house fires.

However in 2024 fire fighting crews are reporting a large increase in house fires due to lithium batteries.

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To make the community aware of the risks, Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) is throwing open its doors for its annual Open Day on Saturday, 11 May 2024.

Peter Ryan of the Salamander Bay Fire and Rescue team told News Of The Area, “The simple message to the community behind this year’s open day is ‘Be Fire Safe’, with emphasis on the following: the importance of having a working smoke alarm in your home, and the fire risk posed by lithium batteries.”

Salamander Bay Fire Station and Raymond Terrace Fire Station will both be open from 10.00am to 2.00pm with a range of free activities including firefighting demonstrations, station tours and safety presentations.

Families can also see the fire trucks, firefighting and rescue equipment up close and chat to local firefighters about the simple steps they can take to “be fire safe”.

FRNSW Acting Captain Rodney Limn said the open day was also an opportunity for firefighters to educate the community about the importance of having a working smoke alarm, especially in the lead-up to winter.

“Each year around 20 people die in NSW from fires that could have been prevented, while hundreds more suffer life-changing health consequences.

“Each death and injury is tragic for families, friends and the wider community,” Acting Captain Limn said.

“This year, we want you to prepare your homes early for winter.

“We see a ten percent increase in the number of home fires during the cooler months, with more fires starting in bedrooms and loungerooms due to things like heaters and electric blankets.

“Now is the time to replace your smoke alarm if it is more than ten years old.

“Remember, only working smoke alarms save lives.”

Acting Captain Limn said firefighters would also provide advice on lithium-ion batteries at the open day.

“Lithium-ion batteries can be found in many portable electronic devices such as mobile phones, e-bikes and e-scooters and although these devices make our lives easier, they have the potential to put us at risk,” Acting Captain Limn said.

“Lithium-ion batteries are the fastest growing fire risk in NSW so it is important for people to understand how to charge devices safely and what they can do if they catch fire.”


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