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Clear the clutter to slash your home fire risk

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					                                  The Hon Steve Whan MP
                                  Minister for Emergency Services
                                  Minister for Small Business

    New South Wales Government



                     Clear the clutter to slash your home fire risk
                                                                    September 10, 2009

Emergency Services Minister Steve Whan today cautioned families across NSW that
a build-up of unnecessary clutter around the home posed a serious fire threat.

Mr Whan said a thorough spring clean now to clear away accumulated rubbish,
garden refuse and hazardous materials such as out-of-date household, garden or
pool chemicals would help minimise your home fire risk.

“With spring here, people should use the momentum of a ‘spring clean’ to prepare for
the warmer months, especially with the bushfire season upon us,” he said.

“Take the time this weekend to look around your house, garden, garage and any
storage areas and clear out rubbish such as piles of old newspapers, cardboard boxes,
unused furniture, firewood or discarded children’s toys.

“You should also clean cooking appliances to remove built-up grease; prune shrubs and
trees; remove leaves from gutters; check your power points and boards are not
overloaded or damaged; and ensure your smoke alarms are working.

“You should particularly make sure that nothing is blocking any exits or the escape
points you have included in your home escape plan.”

NSW Fire Brigades Director Community Safety and Assistant Commissioner Jim Smith
said there had been tragic cases in which people had not been able to escape a home
fire because of clutter or firefighters had difficulty locating victims.

“Clutter is highly flammable and it’s often left in hallways, exits and other passages
and thoroughfares in the home,” Assistant Commissioner Smith said.

“This makes it harder for people to escape in a fire and it also makes it more difficult
for firefighters to get into a home and search for victims and extinguish the blaze.

“No matter how well you know your house, the smoke from a fire will make you
disoriented and it is just too difficult to navigate your way over or around or through
clutter.”

Mr Whan said taking a few hours to clean up around the house was smart fire
prevention that could save your family and your home.

    Media contact: Garth Montgomery 0408 864 851




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