Fire deaths at 16-year high, NSC figures show


Deaths caused by fires are at a sixteen-year high, according to National Safety Council (NSC) figures released today.

The figures show 60 people died last year as a result of fires an increase of 23 per cent from 2000. Fires in the home accounted for 90 per cent of all fire fatalities, the figures show.

In light of the figures, the National Safety Council has warned householders to check for fire hazards and install smoke alarms and plan evacuation drills

"The top three areas of origin for house fires remain the kitchen, the bedroom, and living room," said NSC Chief Executive Mr Pat Costello.

"Most fires occur in the dead of night making smoke alarms an essential early warning device. We are asking people to make it a priority to check and if necessary replace smoke alarm batteries," he added.

The figures also show that 40 per cent of fire deaths occurred during January, February and March of last year and older people, living alone in rural areas, accounted for the greatest number of victims.