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No one likes to imagine their home and all their precious possessions going up in flames, but taking steps towards preventing fire – as well as setting up a plan should the worst happen – is essential for everyone. Here are seven important tips from Fire & Rescue NSW to help you do just that.

1. Smoke alarms

Did you know you’re twice as likely to die in a fire if your home is not fitted with a working smoke alarm? You should have at least one smoke alarm on each floor of your property, ensure it is installed correctly, check its batteries every month, replaced them every year and replace the unit itself every 10 years.

2. Escape plan

Draw a floorplan of your property, identifying two ways of escape from each room, highlighting possible routes. Keep all exits clear of any potential blockages, and ensure keys are kept in an easy-to-access spot so windows and doors can be opened easily. Decide on a meeting place and share your escape plan with the rest of the household. In the event of a fire, exit immediately, don’t attempt to re-enter the building, and call 000.

3. Open flames

Never leave your stove, candles, oil burners or anything else with an open flame unattended.

4. Power points

More than 350 residential fires are caused by electrical faults each year in NSW alone. Never overload your power points or power boards, switch off any appliances that are not in use and ensure your power points and power boards are well-ventilated and dust-free.

5. Lint filter

You probably know this one by now, but a reminder never hurts. Always (and we mean ALWAYS) clean your dryer’s lint filter every time you use it.

6. Clean gutters

If a nearby property to yours catches fire, having gutters filled with leaves will only add fuel to the flame should it transfer to your home. Ensure you regularly check your gutters and clear them of any leaves, litter or other debris.

7. Fire extinguisher

Ensure your fire extinguisher is the correct type for the fire you’d be most likely to encounter (e.g. never use a water extinguisher on a fire involving electrical equipment). An extinguisher should only be used within the first few minutes of the fire igniting, only after calling 000, and the user should follow the acronym “PASS”.

  1. Pull the pin at the top of the extinguisher (breaking the seal) and test it, while aiming away from yourself and anyone else, to check it works as well as to familiarise yourself with its range.
  2. Aim the nozzle towards the base of the fire while standing at a safe distance.
  3. Squeeze the handles to spray the contents, and release to stop.
  4. Sweep the nozzle from side to side of the base of the flames.

Always ensure your home and contents insurance policy is up-to-date and will cover you in the event of a fire.

With Over60 you can tailor your home insurance to suit various needs and budgets so you can enjoy the peace of mind in knowing that the things you hold near and dear are protected. Find out how you can get up to 30 per cent off^ Over60 Combined Home & Contents Insurance now.

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