#childsafety | Be safe, not sorry this winter – The Echo

Caydens mum says she doesn’t want other parents to go through the pain of seeing their children harmed by fire.

Captivated by the flames, Cayden Blake was 12 months old when he walked into an open fireplace suffering suffered serious burns to his hands, arms and face.

The mother of the toddler, has joined Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) to warn others about fire danger this winter.

Cayden was burned in June 2019 and spent three months recovering in and out of the Burns Unit of The Children’s Hospital at Westmead.

As FRNSW and the NSW Rural Fire Service launch their annual Winter Fire Safety campaign Ms Rapley-Adams, joined the Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience and Minister for Flood Recovery Steph Cooke and senior fire officers to urge the public to listen to the crucial safety advice.

Cayden was just 12 months old when he fell into an open fireplace.

Have a plan

FRNSW Commissioner Paul Baxter said the theme for this year’s Winter Fire Safety campaign is ‘Be Safe, Not Sorry.’ ‘Please ensure you have a home fire escape plan so your children know what to do if a fire breaks out,’ Commissioner Baxter said.

 ‘It’s also important to fireproof your home as much as possible by having working smoke alarms.’

 NSW Rural Fire Service Assistant Commissioner Ben Millington said there are steps residents can take to prevent a fire from breaking out in their home.

 ‘It can be as simple as keeping flammable objects a ‘metre from the heater,’ not leaving cooking unattended and not using outdoor heating or cooking equipment inside,’ Assistant Commissioner Millington said.

 Also present at the launch was Australian-New Zealand Burns Association representative and former Director of the Burns Unit at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Dr John Harvey.

‘It’s heart-breaking to watch little children like Cayden in hospital, trying to cope with the horrific pain burns can inflict,’ said Dr Harvey. 

‘As adults, we can protect our young ones by being extra vigilant around fire.’

Last winter there were 953 residential fires, including:

  • 359 kitchen fires (accounting for 38 per cent of winter fires)
  • 98 bedroom fires (accounting for 10 per cent of all winter fires)
  • 81 chimney/fireplace emergencies (accounting for 8 per cent of all winter fires); and
  • 69 loungeroom fires (accounting for 7 per cent of all winter fires)

For information on how to safeguard your home, give FRNSW a call to discuss booking a Fire Safety visit.

Fire crews will come to your home, ensure smoke detectors are in working order and advise on how to best protect your loved ones.

Ms Rapley-Adams said she doesn’t want other parents to go through the pain of seeing their children harmed by fire. ‘Cayden, as a toddler, was curious about the “pretty” flames and it only took a second for him to walk into the fireplace. 

‘Please child-proof your fireplaces and if you haven’t already done so, educate your kids about the dangers of fire.’

FRNSW advises the public to:

  • Check and maintain smoke alarms;
  • Keep any drying clothes or anything flammable at least a metre from the heater;
  • Clean and maintain any fireplaces;
  • Do not use outdoor heating or cooking equipment inside your home;
  • Check electric blankets are safe for use and never go to bed or leave home with your electric blanket on;
  • Do not overheat wheat bags in the microwave;
  • Do not overload power boards;
  • Clean the lint filter from your clothes dryer after each use;
  • Never leave cooking unattended;
  • Always use candles under adult supervision and do not leave them unattended;
  • Ensure you have a ‘home fire escape plan’ and practice it regularly with your family; and
  • If a fire does occur, get outstay out and call Triple Zero (000).

This winter, keep you and your loved ones safe by using the Get Ready for Winter checklist.

There were 3,502 home fires in 2021. FRNSW has attended 1,226 home fires since the beginning of 2022.


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