With winter on our doorstep, firefighters are urging people to ensure their smoke alarms are working after a record number of people lost their lives in fires last season.
Sixteen people were killed in structure fires in NSW last winter, including a man aged in his 70s who died when the ignition of a portable gas bottle caused a fierce blaze that destroyed his Berkeley home in early July.
Fire and Rescue NSW has deemed 12 of these deaths as preventable, but have not said whether the Berkeley man is among them; however, police have confirmed that fire was ruled as accidental.
Another 87 people were injured in the 895 fires that broke out in NSW last winter.
FRNSW urges everyone to test their smoke alarms on Thursday, June 1.
"Working smoke alarms save lives, and sadly complacency can be deadly," FRNSW commissioner Paul Baxter said.
"If you're not regularly checking that your smoke alarms are in working order, you're putting your life and the lives of your loved ones at risk."
Mr Baxter said smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years and if they were yellowed, they were likely out-of-date.
By law, a home must have at least one working smoke alarm on every level.
Emergency Services Minister Jihad Dib said almost 50 per cent of buildings in last winter's structure fires either had non-operational smoke alarms, or none at all.
"Having a working smoke alarm, having a safe environment around home heaters and ensuring you have a home safety escape plan showing how the ways out of your home if a fire takes hold, is the best way to stay safe this winter," Mr Dib said.
Firefighters can undertake safety visits at homes to check smoke alarms and provide fire safety information.
To book a visit, go to the FRNSW website.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.