Electric blankets, gas heaters and wood fires are potential fire hazards in winter

FIREFIGHTERS are warning about the potential dangers of heating appliances ahead of winter.

Warrnambool Fire Brigade station officer Troy Cleverley said the number of house and structure fires usually increased as the temperature dropped.

“There’s a whole raft of issues that come up at this time of year,” he said.

WARNING: Electrict blankets are only designed to warm up a bed and are not made to take weight.

WARNING: Electrict blankets are only designed to warm up a bed and are not made to take weight.

“The big ones for us over winter that will start a fire are lint filters in dryer, overloaded powerpoints and heavy objects on electric blankets.”

He said people were tempted to go to bed with their electric blanket switched on, but this was dangerous.

“People make the mistake of turning their electric blanket on and then climbing into bed,” Mr Cleverley said.

“They’re not designed to have weight on the wires when they’re on.”

Mr Cleverley said he had responded to a number of fires in the district caused by electric blankets.

He also urged residents to have their gas heaters serviced and flues and chimneys cleaned.

Mr Cleverley said it was best to have gas heaters serviced on an annual basis to prevent the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

“People need to ensure chimneys and flues are swept and cleaned,” he said.

“Chimney fires are not uncommon.”

Mr Cleverley said it was important to ensure lint filters in clothes dryers were cleaned regularly.

“As the weather gets cooler people aren’t able to put their clothes on the line and lint is very combustible,” he said.

Mr Cleverley said the heat built up in the dryer and the lint could catch fire.

Another issue for concern was residents placing clothes in front of heaters.

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