Allan Reinikka

Increase in NSW fire deaths caused by ‘complacency’

MORE than 4070 house fires and the deaths of 17 people last year have prompted firefighters to call for renewed vigilance from New South Wales residents.

Latest Fire and Rescue NSW figures show a disappointing increase on 2014, when there were 12 accidental fire deaths and 3946 house fires.

Despite winter traditionally being the busiest time for firefighters, FRNSW Assistant Commissioner Mark Whybro said there had been four deaths and 276 home fires in December alone.

Authorities have already been called to 50 house fires since midnight on New Year's Eve.

"Every day firefighters attend home fires that could have been prevented with a few simple steps and precautions. Sadly, this includes fires where people have been killed or seriously injured," Ass Comm Whybro said.

"The weather may be warmer, but house fires still happen.

"The problem is complacency - people assume it will never happen to them. But I assure you it can.

"These figures speak for themselves."

The only upside to the statistics was a slight drop in the number of fire-related injuries from 499 in 2014 to 486 last year.

"It can take just three minutes for a fire to take hold, but only seconds to prevent one," Ass Comm Whybro said.

"It can be as simple as turning off electrical appliances before you go to bed; keeping a close eye on pots and pans when you're cooking; or cleaning the lint filter on the clothes dryer.

"I don't want to see another increase in home fires this year. Make sure you have a working smoke alarm and a practised home escape plan."