Southern Downs fire crews stoking up fire safety
AS THE temperatures plummet outside, and fireplaces are cranked to scorching levels in lounge rooms across the Southern Downs, residents are reminded to keep winter fire safety front of mind.
Last year, there were 555 house fires in Queensland during June to August, with 50 of those in the south western region alone.
Queensland Fire and Rescue Service South Western Region assistant commissioner Tom Dawson said now was the time for residents to take responsibility for their family's safety by planning for an emergency.
"We're asking residents not to learn about fire safety by accident," Mr Dawson said.
"There are two steps that can increase your chances of survival during a house fire. Step one is to have a working smoke alarm, to wake you up. Step two is to have a fire escape plan, to get you out.
"Remember to detail a safe assembly point outside of the home, like the letterbox, where all members of the household can meet after evacuating."
He said it was important for all members of the household to practise the plan to ensure there were no shortfalls or obstacles and to ensure children had the plan explained to them clearly.
But it's not just house fires locals should be wary of this winter.
Wildash Rural Fire Brigade chairman and training officer Damian Deane said it was vital people thought about what was going on outside too.
"People do silly things every year - like clean out the fire place and empty the ash outside where it can blow everywhere," Mr Deane said.
When it came to burns, Mr Deane reminded residents that a permit was required for every fire.
"You must also give your neighbours three days notice if you're going to light a fire," he said.
"People really need to adhere to the rules, but some people just don't value how difficult it actually is to put out a fire."
As part of the statewide Rural Fire Service Day initiative, the Wildash Rural Fire Brigade will hold an open day this Sunday to give locals the opportunity to get all the information they need.
The open day will be at their shed on the corner of Old Stanthorpe Rd and Mahers Lane, from 10am-2pm.
There will be equipment demonstrations, advice given, questions answered and some snags on the barbie and fun stuff for the kids.
Wildash fire brigade open day
When: Sunday, June 2
Where: Brigade shed, cnr of Old Stanthorpe Rd and Mahers Lane