Just in Case


In Queensland, about 75 per cent of all home fire deaths happen in homes without smoke alarms. Nearly half of these deaths occur when people are sleeping. It is very important that your family has a fire escape plan to follow if a fire breaks out in your home, and that you know what to do if there is a fire when your parents aren’t home.

How can I help keep my house fire safe?

Many of the procedures involved in making your house as fire safe as possible will be your parents’ responsibility. But there are some things you can do:

Electric blankets

  • Don't use your electric blanket until your parents have checked that its wiring is safe.
  • If at any time you think your electric blanket isn’t working properly, or there is a burning smell, turn off the blanket and tell your parents.
  • Don’t leave the blanket on overnight – switch it off when you turn off your light.


  • Turn heaters off when you are the last person to leave a room.
  • Don’t hang clothes, towels or blankets near a heater. If you are drying clothes, have at least 2 metres between clothes and the heater, and check regularly that the clothes are not burning or smelling burnt.
  • Don’t put power cords under the carpet in your room.
  • Keep heaters away from curtains, furniture and bedding. Never place a heater on furniture or your bed.
  • Use a fireguard in front of an open fire.

Power points

Don’t overload power points in your house. Place one appliance in one power point. If you need more power points for your computer, discuss it with your parents to work out a safe option.
  • Do not leave laptops, tablets, or mobile phones charging on soft surfaces like beds or couches. Always charge them on hard surfaces like the kitchen bench or a table.
  • Always turn appliances off at the switch and remove power plugs if possible.
  • Use safety plugs if small children may be tempted to place objects in the power points in your house.

Fire escape plan

Every family should have a plan in place so that everyone knows what to do in case of fire. Even the process of discussing the plan will highlight important points and potential issues for your family and your home.

Things to consider in your plan:
  • Try to have two ways out of every room (such as a door and window)
  • Can windows open and be used for escape if necessary?
  • Note an outside meeting place to ensure everyone is out of the house and safe (such as the letter box).
  • Who will be responsible for any babies, small children, people with a disability or pets.
  • The best way to escape for anyone upstairs.
  • Never trap yourself in your house. If you prefer to have your locks deadlocked when you are alone in your house, make sure the keys are in the deadlocks so you can exit easily.
You should practice your escape plan with your family in different scenarios. A fire could break out a night when it’s dark and you cannot see.

What fire fighting equipment and alarms should we have where we live?

Every home should have a fire extinguisher suitable for fires involving electrical equipment and flammable liquid fires – a red bottle with a white band (a dry chemical extinguisher) of 2 to 3.5 kg. One should be stored in each level of your home, but at minimum: one in the kitchen and another in the garage. A fire blanket should also be kept for kitchen fires and, if used, it should be replaced.

Smoke alarms detect smoke from fire and when activated, send out a loud, distinctive sound to alert residents of the potential danger. Many lives have been saved because people have been awakened by their smoke alarms. Under Queensland law all homes and units must have smoke alarms. More information on smoke alarm laws, including the placement and type is available on the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services website at:

You should test and clean your smoke alarms each month by pressing the test button, and keep it clean and free of dust by vacuuming it regularly.

What should I do if there’s a fire in my house?

The steps to take if you discover a fire in your house:
  • Raise the alarm
  • Get out of the house (if there is smoke, crawl low on the floor to avoid the smoke)
  • Call Triple Zero (000).
Remember – your belongings can be replaced, but you cannot be!

Bush and grass fire safety

If you have wandered away from your group while in the bush and you become aware of a fire, you should know what to do.

If you are on foot:
  • Don’t panic
  • Never try to escape from an approaching fire by heading further uphill – fire spreads uphill quickly. Instead, try and move across the face of a hill and beyond the fire.
  • Never try to run or jump through flames unless you can see that there is no fire on the other side and the flames are low.
  • If you can’t move away from the fire, look for a cleared area or a barrier such as a large log or rock to hide behind.
  • Look for a ditch or creek bed to provide some protection.
  • If there is no escape, get down as low as possible and cover all exposed skin with clothing or dirt. Keep low until the fire has passed.
If you are in a vehicle:
  • Don’t panic.
  • Tell the driver to park the vehicle in a cleared area.
  • Leave the engine running and turn on the lights and hazards so others can see where you are.
  • Close all windows and vents to avoid smoke and ash entering the vehicle.
  • Crouch as low as possible in the vehicle, below the level of the windows. The lower you are, the safer you are.
  • Cover all exposed skin – a woollen blanket or woollen seat cover is ideal and should be carried by all vehicles when in the bush.
  • Wait for the fire to pass and when it is safe to do so leave the vehicle.
If you are travelling in or through the bush, especially during summer, you should wear cotton or woollen clothing in case of fire. Synthetic clothing will melt and stick to you.

Visit the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) website for more information on home and bush fire safety.

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