As the nights are getting colder, many of us look forward to coming home to houses or apartments kept warm by fires, heaters or an air conditioner. If it’s raining outside, you might hang your damp coat over a rack right next to the heater so it’s dry for tomorrow. Curling up on the couch with a blanket, you light a candle for some ambience, and then drift off to sleep in front of the TV.
Sound relaxing? It could be dangerous.
A large percentage of residential fires happen in winter, and this is not a coincidence. Many of the ways we warm ourselves and our homes can be potentially deadly.
A fire in any home is dangerous, but in strata buildings the potential for disaster is increased. Fires can spread quickly and easily between units, and the large number of people can mean mass panic and problematic evacuations.
Fortunately, the majority of these fires are preventable. Being careful can mean your winter’s evening is relaxing, not terrifying.
Here is a checklist for keeping safe this winter:
Taking appropriate fire safety precautions is important in every building. However, it is more so in strata titled buildings due to the risk presented by a dense population. It is vital that your owners corporation / body corporate has proper fire safety measures in place.
For body corporate or owners corporation committees
Ensure you meet your fire safety compliance obligations. These have been helpfully set out for you in “Tim Sheehan and Paul Wood’s Guide to Body Corporate / Owners Corporation Statutory Compliance”
For lot owners and tenants
Make sure you are familiar with the fire and evacuation plans specific to your strata building. These plans should be available from your committee, and fire and evacuation signs should be prominently displayed in the common areas. Knowing what to do in the event of an emergency is essential for your safety.