Minister for Police and Community Safety
The Honourable Jack Dempsey
01/05/2012

New firefighters hit ground running as busy season approaches

At a ceremony in Brisbane this morning, 28 firefighter recruits graduated from their training just in time for winter, traditionally the busiest time of year for house fires.

Minister for Police and Community Safety Jack Dempsey said 12 people died in house fires in Queensland last winter, making it vital to have the most highly trained firefighters on the job protecting the community.

“Last winter, our firefighters attended 544 house fires in Queensland and this winter will again brace themselves for what is typically a very busy time of year,” Mr Dempsey said.

He said while firefighters were committed to saving homes and lives, it was also the responsibility of the public to take the necessary steps to protect themselves.

“The men and women of the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service (QFRS) do all they can to keep our homes and families safe, so it only makes sense we do all we can to avoid a situation where firefighters need to come to our aid,” he said.

“Being prepared can be as simple as having heaters and electric blankets checked by a qualified electrican when they are unpacked each winter and never leaving these appliances unattended.

“Last winter, around 30 per cent of house fires started in the kitchen, with the most common cause being cooking equipment left unattended or misused.

“This figure shows us just how potentially dangerous the kitchen can be if we aren’t thinking about fire safety.

“To help avoid a disaster, all kitchens should have a fire extinguisher and fire blanket installed and appliances should be switched off when not in use.

Mr Dempsey said no matter what time of year, it was never too late to formulate and practice a fire evacuation plan and to regularly check smoke alarms.

“The most important message of all is to ensure your home is fitted with working smoke alarms which are tested regularly,” he said.

“A working smoke alarm can mean the difference between life and death in a house fire.”

The QFRS offers a free home fire safety visit.

To book your Safehome visit, call 13 QGOV (13 74 68) or visit www.fire.qld.gov.au