Since 2012, MFS and Country Fire Service crews have responded to more than 112 South Australian house fires caused by air conditioners, evaporative coolers and fans. Of those, 19 were last year and 24 were in 2014. In 2012 there were 39 fires involving cooling equipment. Fire fighters are warning home owners to service their air conditioners before the heat returns after a fire damaged yet another northern suburbs home in Elizabeth East in early January 2016. According to The Advertiser “The family of three, who was home at the time, could smell smoke. However, it was the neighbours who saw the flames and contacted triple-zero,”. About $30,000 damage was caused to the home, and the bathroom ceiling collapsed. MFS Acting Commander of Community Safety and Resilience Simon Hogben said it is important that air conditioners, evaporative coolers and fans are checked and serviced by a qualified tradesperson before the arrival of long periods of hot weather. “In recent years, South Australia has experienced extended heatwaves and more of the same is occurring this summer,” he said. “If you have faulty or poorly maintained air cooling equipment, the risk of overheating and consequently fire, increases. It is very important to maintain all home appliances and the MFS recommends that people have their air cooling equipment serviced now, so they are ready to withstand the rest of this lengthy summer.” Mr Hogben said the fire service does not discourage the use of air conditioners during summer, but urged South Australians to reduce the fire risk by using qualified tradespeople to install and maintain systems correctly and having them serviced regularly. He said tradespeople should be asked to check for faults, remove any build-up of dust or combustible material and ensure the equipment is in good working order. He warned that cooling equipment should not be left running while not at home.
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