Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) is urging Hastings residents to be fire-aware this winter.
An onset of cold weather often coincides with increased numbers of call outs to preventable house fires, said FRNSW acting station commander Derek Stratton.
"In general, the-call out rate does increase in winter," said Mr Stratton.
"We recommend home owners have an escape plan and practice it.
"Make sure keys are always accessible where the door is and we recommend providing an early alert of fire by having working smoke alarms in each bedroom.
"We advise rolling up electric blankets instead of folding them which can potentially crease their connections.
"If electric blankets are not in good condition, are old or past the manufacturer's date consider replacing them.
"Only use electric blankets to heat the bed and ensure they are switched off while sleeping.
"Similarly, wheat packs have become quite popular, however they are not designed to heat beds because heat cannot escape."
Residents are encouraged to turn off heaters and electric blankets before leaving home or getting into bed, clean lint filters in the clothes dryer regularly and avoid overloading power boards.
Keeping candles away from curtains, installing working photo-electric smoke alarms and avoiding use of LPG cylinders for cooking or heating indoors is also recommended.
There have been 63 residential fires across the Mid-North Coast from June to September 2017, resulting in four injuries and no fatalities.
In the same period during 2018, there were 62 residential fires with five injuries.
Residential fires amounted to around 12 per cent of all fires in those years.
FRNSW community safety and research chief superintendent Mick Morris said colder parts of the year could see a 10 per cent increase in the number of home fires.
"We want to remind people to be careful when using heaters and to keep everything in the house 'a metre from the heater'," said Ch Supt Morris.
"Kitchen fires account for 45 per cent of all residential fires and 34 per cent of injuries in NSW.
"Flames or heat sources being left unattended are the most common cause contributing to kitchen fires.
"It can take just three minutes for a fire to take hold, but only seconds to prevent one.
"To avoid kitchen fire catastrophes, we urge people to 'keep looking when cooking'.
"It's a simple way to avoid losing your home or even worse, your loved ones or your own life."
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