“The Queensland Office of Fair Trading has launched an investigation into the safety of ethanol fireplaces after several serious incidents involving people suffering severe burns,” he said.
“The colder weather sees household heating appliances being switched on, lit up and well used. Ethanol fireplaces are becoming increasingly popular and are seen as an easy, smokeless and eco-friendly way to keep warm during the winter months.
“As with kerosene heaters of my parents’ era, the use of ethanol heaters means that families are introducing a highly combustible liquid into the family home and need to take extra care to avoid burns.”
Minister for Police and Emergency Services Stuart Ayres said while Fire & Rescue NSW had not identified any specific incidents involving ethanol heaters this winter, it was a timely reminder to take precautions when using heating appliances around the home.
“Any type of heater can cause a fire if it is not used properly and safely. If you haven’t used your heater or fireplace for a while, make sure you check that it’s in good working order before switching it on. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and never leaving any source of heating unattended,” Mr Ayres said.
People can enjoy a trouble-free winter by following these simple rules when using heating appliances:
Strictly follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safe use.
Keep combustible materials such as clothes or curtains at least one metre from heat sources.
Supervise children at all times around heat sources.
Make sure a fireplace has had plenty of time to cool before attempting to move or refuel it, and never throw anything combustible into a fireplace.
Store fuel in a separate room to the fireplace.
Never leave any heat sources unattended while in use. Switch off heaters and extinguish fireplaces before leaving the house or going to sleep.
Have an appropriate fire extinguisher nearby.
Make sure you have a working smoke alarm.