With winter well under way, households are making use of heating appliances to keep themselves cosy and warm but inefficient use or storage of electric gadgets can pose safety risks as new Budget Direct research reveals.

"The research reveals that majority of Aussies surveyed (73%) use appliances such as heaters, heating systems, electronic blankets and in some cases fireplaces to keep warm during winter."

With these items used frequently in winter or the cooler months, they are often stored away during summer, running the risk of getting damaged before use again, with 47% of those surveyed admitting they don’t replace their electric heating appliances or have them checked before use."

Budget Direct General Manager for Home Claims, Chris Jarrett said it’s important to know the condition of any appliances that have been stored away for months before plugging them into power sockets.

“Having your heating systems professionally serviced or checked to make sure they are clean, working properly and ventilated is just as important as making sure you’ve turned off the heater or stored it away carefully when it is in use,” said Mr Jarrett.

"59% of Aussies surveyed admit they don’t run maintenance checks by a professional for items such as fireplaces or combustion heaters before use in winter, which can lead to living in a home environment that is not safe and at an increased risk of fire."

Further information provided by ACCC’s Product Safety website also warns people to take precautionary measures around electric blankets and urges not to sleep with them on. It also advises avoiding direct contact with your skin when using hot water bottles and encourages using a fitted cover wrap or bottle before use.

The Budget Direct research revealed:

  • Smoke alarm safety: Half of Aussies surveyed (51%) never have their smoke alarm checked professionally with 38% who do so once a year and 11% who have it checked more than once a year.
  • Fire escape plans: In the event of an emergency 38% of those surveyed admit their households do not have a fire escape plan for their family. According to the Queensland Fire Service, there is only a 15 second window to escape in the event of a house fire.
  • Electric Blanket Safety: Almost half of the Aussies surveyed say they don’t own an electric blanket, yet 42% don’t check them prior to use.
  • Common heating appliances/systems used: Taking the top spot are heaters/heating systems (49%), followed by fireplaces (10%), hot water bottles (8%), electric blankets (6%) with (27%) that don’t use any.
  • Carbon Monoxide Detectors: 40% of Aussies surveyed admit they do not have a carbon monoxide detector in their household.

For peace of mind around safety in the household during winter, find out more about Budget Direct’s Winter Fire Safety Guide at: https://www.budgetdirect.com.au/home-contents-insurance/home-safety/home-hazards/common-fire-hazards-in-the-home.html

Note to Editors

This survey was conducted by Google Survey in July 2019. The sample comprises 1,000 Aussies aged 18 plus and distributed throughout Australia. To include this data in your research or articles, please include a backlink to https://www.budgetdirect.com.au/home-contents-insurance.html

About Budget Direct

Budget Direct was established as an insurance provider in Australia in 2000. It is part of the international BHL group of companies headquartered in the British Isles. The group provides more than 8 million policies to insurance customers and administers $AUD 3 billion in premiums annually. Budget Direct offers Motor, Home & Contents, Motorcycle, Pet, Life and Travel Insurance as well as Roadside Assistance.

Budget Direct is a multi-award-winning insurer having won Money magazines Insurer of the Year 2021 for the fifth year in a row and Canstar’s Outstanding Value Car Insurance 2021 for 15 years in a row amongst many other awards. Our policies are underwritten by Auto & General Insurance Company Limited, an Australian insurance company regulated by APRA and a member of the Insurance Council of Australia.

About Auto & General

Auto & General has specialised in the sale, management and underwriting of insurance products in Australia since 2000. Our insurance products include car, home and contents and travel. We provide insurance for a number of brands including Budget Direct, 1st for Women, Ozicare, Virgin Money, and ING. We have contact centres based in Queensland and claims assessing centres in Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne, in total employing in excess of 1500 people. Our commitment to providing exceptional service has seen the company win multiple industry awards.

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