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Winter Safety: Ignoring can have serious consequences

Following the recent cold snap across much of Australia, everyone has been doing their best to stay warm. Unfortunately for some the consequences have been devastating.

Winter Safety - Ignoring can have serious consequences

Over one July weekend with exceptionally cold conditions the NSW Fire Service were called to more than 70 home fires. This was in no way restricted to New South Wales, it has been happening all over the country, and tragically there has been loss of life.

The state fire services across Australia have been pleading for people to take the risk of fire seriously. Fire and Rescue NSW have commented that following the recent spate of cold weather across NSW, FRNSW have attended numerous fires and concerns for welfare has risen resulting from the increased use of heaters, electric blankets, and improper use of unsafe heating methods within the home environment.

The office and business environment likewise can be subjected to the increased risk of fire due to the cold weather. Though many premises may well be air conditioned it is not unusual to see additional heating devices utilised by staff to increase warmth within the working environment. Demand for hot food may well result in greater use of hot plates, ovens, toasters, drink warming appliances which when utilised add to the potential fire risk. At Gow-Gates we also face this situation and one control that is emphasised greater during the winter months is to ensure all additional heating / warming / cooking devices are turned off and unplugged when the office is vacated.

It is impossible to outline every possible fire prevention practise in the limited space allowed for this article. Circumstances vary widely for each particular situation depending on the use of the location be it either domestic or commercial utilisation of the premises. It is recommended that you seek advice from your fire protection supplier or utilise the services provided by the NSW fire brigade as to recommendations that can be implemented to reduce the risk of fire and increase safety for all in both domestic and commercial areas.

When reviewing potential increased fire risk it may well be worthwhile to review your current insurance arrangements for both your business and domestic insurance. Adequately arranged insurance can protect you from the unexpected loss which in the case of fire is usually how it happens namely ‘unexpected’. Naturally insurance is good to protect assets but the salient point of this article is to highlight that winter can bring additional risks. By being aware and taking action where needed it may prevent the loss of life. A life that could be a family member, friend, neighbour, customer or staff.

If you believe that this issue is relevant to your business, please feel free to contact Rebecca Fleming, Account Manager of our Travel Industry Division at Gow-Gates Insurance Brokers on (02) 8267 9919 or to discuss your circumstances or to obtain a quotation.


Gow-Gates Insurance Brokers advises that persons should not act on the material contained in this article as the items are of a general nature only and may be misinterpreted. We therefore recommend that advice be sought before acting in these areas.