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Modern living area with couch, coffee table, kindling and fireplace.
Our seasonal checklist will help to bring you comfort and peace of mind this winter.

1. Check household appliances to help reduce fire risk

Reduce the risk of fire in your home by regularly inspecting electrical leads, cables, and cords for damage and keeping household appliances clean and free of dust. Get into the habit of emptying the lint filter every time you use the tumble dryer, as the lint can catch fire, and don’t forget to remove breadcrumbs from the toaster.

Avoid overloading powerboards and place them on their side, so dust doesn’t collect in the unused power points. If you don’t have enough power points or a fuse often trips, call in a licensed electrician for some expert advice. Don’t leave appliances on when you’re not home and turn them off at the wall before going to bed.

Hand holding monitor for blue electric blanket.

2. Be safe with heating

A warm home is a healthy home, but heating can be dangerous. Before winter begins, have the chimney of your wood heater professionally swept. (Make a note to do this every year.) Keep firewood, fire starters and matches at least one metre away from the fireplace, and always use a fire screen in front of an open fire (and enclosed wood heaters if small children are around).

Run heaters and electric blankets only when you’re home and awake. It may be tempting to keep the home warm whenever you’re away or asleep, but this can be an added risk. Also, never place clothes or towels over a heater to dry them – a heated bathroom towel rail does this job nicely. Keep curtains, bedding and clothes racks at least one metre away from heaters and fireplaces.

White towel hanging on metal heated rail.

3. Make a safety plan

Create a simple and straightforward safety plan so your family can react quickly in the event of a house fire. Test smoke alarms at least twice a year (replace batteries if needed) and vacuum alarms to remove dust. Use specialised smoke alarms (these include strobe lights and an under-pillow vibrating pad) for the hearing impaired.

It’s also a good idea to consider a carbon monoxide alarm if you run gas appliances at home, and to keep a fire blanket and extinguisher in the kitchen. Have a home escape plan; if anyone has special needs, have back-up medication or a manual wheelchair available in case there are power outages.

White smoke alarm hanging on ceiling.

4. Stay on top of garden maintenance

Prune back dead or weak tree branches, as these could fall and damage your property – or a person! Clear all gutters regularly, especially after autumn, as a build-up of debris can provide fuel for house and bush fires; this build-up can also lead to leaks, mould and nesting animals.

Don’t forget to keep safety top of mind when doing maintenance around the home and in your backyard. When using a ladder, wear sturdy, slip-proof shoes, make sure the ladder is stable (a ladder grip is a worthy investment), maintain three points of contact at all times and always make sure someone is nearby to help if required. If you can’t reach something safely, call in the professionals.

Hand with gloves removing leaves from a gutter on the roof.

5. Reduce the chance of falls around the home

Falls can lead to injuries and hospitalisations, and possibly fatalities. To keep the outdoor area in check, pressure wash moss from slippery paths, light up hazardous areas like outdoor steps, and use bright sensor lights to illuminate major thoroughfares. Some smart sensor lights can even be turned on and off remotely with a smartphone or other smart device.

For fall prevention inside your home, clear floors of clutter and secure rugs and carpets to reduce the risk of slips and trips. Make sure stair balustrades are solid and clean, and add adhesive grip tape to stair treads. Sensor lights are also useful in hallways and bathrooms; some can be plugged into a power point.

Close up image of a binge rug on hardwood floor.

Keep in mind...

  • Safety tip: Always wear the appropriate safety equipment (safety glasses, gloves, ear muffs and a mask, for example) and always follow the instructions for the product or equipment.
  • All hardwired electrical fittings must be installed by a licensed tradesperson.

Looking for efficient ways to stay warm?

Check out these affordable heaters to keep you snug.

 

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.