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Practical fire safety tips

There are a number of steps you can take to reduce the risk of fire to you, your family and your dwelling.

In case of a fire, please call 000 (triple zero).

Whether you live in a house, small apartment block, high-rise dwelling or in another living arrangement, there are a number of steps you can take to reduce the risk of fire to you, your family and your dwelling. The following information will help you improve your home’s fire safety.

With the warmer weather approaching and more people spending time on balconies, it is critical that you understand and practice fire safety precautions in your home:

  • Always store gas bottles outside, upright and away from sources of heat.
  • When using a barbecue maintain a safe distance of at least 50cm from exterior walls, anything else that could burn, as well as any electrical ignition sources.
  • Smokers should use heavy, high-sided ashtrays made of glass, ceramic or metal. Always fully extinguish cigarettes.
  • Remove rubbish, clutter and flammable items from balconies and keep furniture away from exterior walls.
  • Many portable devices such as laptop computers, mobile phones, children’s toys, e-scooters and e-cigarettes may contain rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. They are light-weight, energy dense and long lasting but can be more volatile than traditional batteries. Most modern devices with rechargeable batteries contain lithium-ion batteries. Occasionally, if a lithium-ion battery is improperly charged, handled, stored or disposed of there is a risk of overheating, catching fire or explosion. This also increases the risk of a house fire, garage fire or personal injury.
  • Keep clothing and other items at least one metre away from air conditioning units.
  • Ensure smoke alarms are not covered or disconnected and are tested each month. If smoke alarms have 9-volt batteries, it is critical that the batteries are replaced every year. Consider changing your smoke alarms to ones with a 10-year lithium battery. Replace your smoke alarms every 10 years.
  • Always keep fire doors clear, closed and unlocked at all times.
  • Know the building fire emergency plan and be familiar with escape routes and escape procedures.
  • Keep a dry powder fire extinguisher easily accessible in your home at all times. Use only in case of a small fire and if you feel physically and mentally able.
  • Call 000 in an emergency.

Essential Safety Measures

An Essential Safety Measure (ESM) is a safety feature required in a building to protect occupants in the event of a fire.

If a fire occurs, well maintained ESMs can provide residents with more time to exit the building and lessen the chance of fire spreading. ESMs require ongoing care and maintenance.

Find more information, including advice to owners corporations, about Essential Safety Measures.

Looking for more fire safety information?

For more information about home fire safety, visit Fire Rescue Victoria.

Fire Safety Victoria also has fire safety information in other languages.

For more information about gas safety, visit Energy Safe Victoria.