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Adelaide Prepares for Bushfires

published  First Published: 07/01/2010
Article written by: News Reporter: Nigel Brookson
In November, the Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS) and Country Fire Service (CFS) responded to three house fires caused by different brands of air conditioners and evaporative coolers.
The fires had a combined damage bill of $600,000 and forced one family to evacuate their home with little notice.
Importantly, the fire services do not discourage the use of electrical air cooling equipment as it can assist the health and comfort of the public, especially the elderly or families with younger children.
However, MFS District Officer of Community Safety, Allan Foster says the MFS and CFS are asking people to be vigilant when using such equipment.
We are concerned because overheated air cooling equipment can easily start a fire that can destroy property or even worse, claim lives. The risk of overheating increases with the constant use of equipment during extreme heat events.
There are some simple tips that people can follow which could save homes, businesses or lives, Mr Foster says.
CFS State Coordinator, Brenton Eden says one of the most important tips for people to follow during the predicted heatwave, is to keep an eye on your air conditioner or evaporative cooler.

Avoid leaving your cooling equipment running unattended. If you are there when its running, you can keep check on how its running and make sure that it doesnt get dangerously hot, Mr Eden says.
General tips for homes and businesses:
Avoid leaving your cooling equipment running constantly and unattended.
Have your air conditioners, evaporative coolers or other electrical equipment serviced by a licensed tradesperson according to the manufacturers specifications. Ask them to check for faults, clear any build up of dust and ensure the equipment is in good working order.
Regularly clean your electrical cooling equipment (or have it cleaned) to clear any build up of dust or combustible material.
If you have an older air conditioner without a regulating thermostat, consider upgrading your air conditioner to one that has a regulating thermostat for improved fire safety and energy consumption.
The MFS and CFS recognise that people rely on electrical air cooling equipment to reduce the chance of heat related health conditions, and encourage people to use the equipment safely.



Related Article: Adelaide Melts in Heatwave


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