Winter: The forgotten fire season

Fire safety advice for bright sparks

When you think of ‘fire season’, the tendency is probably to think of long, hot summers and harsh drought conditions – especially after Australia’s previous bushfires. 

But it’s precisely this mindset that is perhaps the most dangerous of all, and has winter months being the period with the highest number of preventable house fires, season after season.


Because once the temperature drops, we do everything we can to escape the winter chill, contributing to an increased fire risk at home.

In fact, the number one cause of winter home fires in Australia is embers escaping a fireplace – shortly followed by heater failures, faulty ducted systems and overuse of electric blankets. 

And if that’s not enough to ignite your concern, some less obvious culprits are charging – and overheating – electronic devices on beds, bathroom heat lamps exploding, and portable heaters left too close to curtains and clothes.

Of course, all of these are critical to keeping warm (and sane!) in winter; but they’re equally vital reasons to have your smoke alarms checked during the cooler months, and to take extra precaution to prevent fires from starting altogether. Especially given that most incidences occur during the night… and no, you cannot smell smoke while asleep!

Landlords or tenants – who’s responsible for smoke alarms?

In accordance with NSW law, smoke alarms are mandatory in all residential homes. 

Advice for landlords

If you’re a landlord, that means you’re required to install smoke alarms in your property, as well as to ensure that regular compliance checks are carried out for them. These checks can no longer be completed by real estate agents without the correct qualifications, but must be undertaken by verified smoke alarm compliance companies. 

Standard checks are generally available from $99 through the following companies (be sure to contact your local Prudential Real Estate office for assistance coordinating a check for your home):

Advice for tenants

Tenants are required to ensure that smoke alarms are in working order in the property they are renting. This includes:

  • Replacing batteries in smoke detectors
  • Notifying your landlord or agent if they are not working properly.

Fire and Rescue NSW have compiled a handy winter fire safety checklist to get your home fire safe this winter – check it out here.

Just remember, fire doesn’t have an off-season… and only working smoke alarms save lives!

Online resources:

Tenants NSW

Fire and Rescue NSW: What is the law for smoke alarms?

Fire and Rescue NSW: Winter fire safety checklist

Have a question or concern about fire safety in your property?

Speak to your local Prudential Real Estate office today!

Prudential Real Estate Campbelltown 
(02) 4628 0033 |

Prudential Real Estate Liverpool 
(02) 9822 5999 |

Prudential Real Estate Macquarie Fields 
(02) 9605 5333 |

Prudential Real Estate Narellan 
(02) 4624 4400 |