Fire brigade officers are warning south-west residents to take precautions during early winter to avoid blazes in their home.
Warrnambool senior station officer Michael Doreian said it was time to have gas heaters checked, chimney flues cleaned and a good idea to ensure smoke alarms batteries were working.
He said families, especially those with small children, should plan and practice their fire escape plans.
"We find that kids are often the best learners and leaders," he said.
"If a fire breaks out, everyone needs to get down low, crawl and all get out. Everyone should gather at the letterbox.
"That way everyone can be accounted for and when the fire brigade arrives we can find out if everyone is accounted for."
Officer Doreian said there was also an ongoing campaign for residents to check their smoke alarms were working.
"We are also pushing that smoke alarms be interlinked so that if one goes off they all go off," he said.
"In some homes there is some distance between a fire alarm and where you may be sleeping. You may not hear it.
"But, if they are interconnected, like they are in new homes, all the alarms go off and the alert is very clear.
"It is an added expense, but also added security."
The senior station officer said home safety was vital in winter with fires more prevalent in dwellings during winter.
"We're talking about fires in the kitchen, fires caused by heating and other factors like overloaded power boards," he said.
"Residents need to avoid having too many things hanging off power boards, especially high wattage appliances like heaters and dryers that draw a lot of power.
"Make sure you have a modern power board capable of accommodating your requirements.
"Power boards do overheat and catch fire."
Officer Doreian said residents should also check electric blankets were in working order and not place heavy items, like numbers of books or suitcases, on them.
"The wiring in electric blankets can break, arc and start a fire," he said.
"And people drying clothes in front of any sort of heater need to have the clothes at least a metre from their appliance.
"Don't drape clothes over heaters. It can be extremely dangerous.
"We want everyone to stay safe this winter, but there's a few things you can do to help ensure your safety," he said.
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