COOKING and electrical fires still cause the most house fires across Geelong and the Surf Coast, according to the latest preventable fire statistics from the CFA.
In 2017, there were 127 preventable house fires in District 7, causing more than $3.8 million in property damage.
The top three causes were cooking, which made up a third of the total (34 fires), electrical (30) and heating (20).
Overall, preventable residential fires were up 13 per cent in the district, which also takes in Lorne, Barwon Heads, Winchelsea and Anakie.
The 2017 Preventable Fire Statistics demonstrate that while CFA community education efforts are having a profound effect, there is a long way to go in reducing the amount of preventable fires in our community.
District 7 operations manager Mick McGuiness said the figures show how the services of CFA are changing.
“Yes, we fight bushfires but we do so much more, including in urban settings such as Geelong.
“The priority for CFA is prevention. In the main, this is achieved through education programs and home fire safety instructions provided through information campaigns and direct one-to-one conversations with our communities.
“Working smoke alarms save lives. This is clearly demonstrated through the fact that despite more than 100 preventable house fires in our district, property loss was far greater than the loss of life.”
“Our message is clear: check your smoke alarm’s battery – and if your smoke alarm is aged 10 years or more, the whole unit should be changed.”
Across the state, the number of fires starting in the kitchen is down 8 per cent from 2016 but they still represent 37 per cent of incidents. Cooking related fires are down 12 per cent.
Fires starting at stoves, ovens and cooktops led to 274 incidents.
Electrical fires are the largest cause of property loss causing an estimated $9.8 million in damage.
Acting Chief Officer Garry Cook said education was often an overlooked but arguably the most important, aspect of what CFA does.
“The best way to stop a fire is to teach a person how to be safe in the home and stop a fire before it even begins.
“This includes reaching out to our multi-cultural communities, making sure regardless of whether you speak English or not you are safe around fires.”