The house fire death toll in New South Wales has climbed to 13, more than triple last winter, with fears the number will rise as eastern Australia’s long winter continues.
The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting a cold and wet spring, meaning many households are still reaching for the heaters and electric blankets.
Standards Australia has issued an urgent warning, particularly to residents in South-eastern states, to ensure they are only buying electric blankets, and other heating devices, that meet Australian Standards (AS/NZS 3350.2.17:2000).
However, with the increased cost of living highlighted by growing inflation and interest rates, there is concern consumers may look for cheaper home heating appliances, such as electric blankets, by shopping online or purchasing while overseas.
“With the cost-of-living soaring, there is the temptation to buy cheaply manufactured heating appliances, but when it comes to the safety of you and your loved ones, it is not worth cutting corners,” Standards Australia General Manager, Engagement and Communications, Adam Stingemore, said.
“Purchasing, and using, electrical heating items that do not meet Australia’s strict standards represents a critical risk to consumers, their families, and their homes.
“We don’t want to see any more lives lost. As the temperatures stays down over the coming months, we urge people to check the label on all the heating devices in their homes to see if they are made to a relevant standard.”
There have been more than 500 residential house fires since June 1 and Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) says the causes vary from heaters to electrical issues.
Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) Commissioner Paul Baxter says most of these fires have been ‘preventable’.