- Actual house fire filmed to create 360 virtual reality experience showing what can happen without a working smoke alarm
- New WA figures reveal fires caused by charging devices have more than doubled in past year
A new virtual reality experience that shows how quickly a house fire can spread serves as a stark warning about the dangers of fire in the home.
Filmed in a Perth house due for demolition, the virtual reality experience immerses users inside a property that is engulfed in fire from an electronic device being charged.
New figures show the number of fires started by devices left to charge on beds, sofas and other fabrics, more than doubled from eight in 2017-18 to seventeen last financial year.
The Virtual Reality Home Fire Experience was produced by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) to bring home the realities of residential fires to people who believe it will never happen to them.
It was launched at DFES' Education and Heritage Centre as part of the agency's annual Home Fire Safety campaign which highlights the main causes of fires, the need to maintain smoke alarms and the importance of having a home fire escape plan.
The top five causes of fires in Western Australia are unattended cooking, cigarettes and other smoking implements, candles, lighting (particularly downlights), and dirty chimneys and flues.
This launch coincides with the worst months for home fires, with an average of 75 fires occurring each month in July and August in WA.
The virtual reality experience can be viewed at the DFES Education and Heritage Centre, and soon a transportable version including several sets of Virtual Reality goggles and a burnt couch will be available to visit schools, shopping centres and community events.
Comments attributed to Emergency Services Minister Francis Logan:
"The Virtual Reality Home Fire Experience immerses users in a real-life house fire and shows people how little time they have to act once their home is on fire.
"It will bring home to people who think it can't happen to them just how quickly a fire can take off and spread.
"Last winter we lost three lives to home fires in Western Australia - please don't let your loved ones become a statistic. Check your smoke alarms, be vigilant to fire risks and have a fire escape plan."
Minister's office - 6552 6300