Fire Rescue NSW Hunter report
Charlestown firefighters responded to a call to a kitchen fire at Redhead on Thursday afternoon. Neighbours were alerted by the sound of a smoke alarm ringing and called triple 0 immediately.
The fire was extinguished quickly, with a male resident treated at the scene for smoke inhalation. His dog, which was also inside, escaped unharmed.
On average, 21 deaths occur in residential fires across NSW every year and one-third to one-half of those may have been prevented if homes had working smoke alarms and had a home escape plan.
Modern furnishings and building materials have dramatically changed the dynamics of residential fires. Synthetic materials produce faster fires with higher levels of heat and toxic smoke than natural materials.
Extensive research has revealed that fires in modern homes spread in less than five minutes, compared to older homes (built between 1950-70) which took around 29 minutes to spread. This demonstrates there is less time for people to evacuate safely in the event of a fire.
The findings reinforce that in addition to the minimum requirement of one smoke alarm per level, smoke alarms should be installed in all bedrooms, living spaces and hallways, and should be interconnected to ensure if one alarm detects smoke, all alarms will activate.
To avoid accidental activation, avoid fitting smoke alarms in or near kitchens or bathrooms.