A RECENT wheat bag fire has prompted CFA firefighters to remind Victorians of the potential fire risks involved with heating and using therapeutic wheat packs.
In late July, firefighters from Edithvale Fire Brigade responded to a wheat bag fire in Aspendale Gardens.
Upon arriving on scene, breathing apparatus crews entered the smoke-filled house and located the wheat bag inside the microwave.
The wheat bag was quickly extinguished, and the fire was safely contained to within the microwave.
The warning follows multiple interstate housefire fatalities caused by wheat bags in recent years.
CFA chief officer Jason Heffernan said it was a timely reminder during these cooler months for people to take care when using wheat bags.
“Wheat bags are a popular choice for keeping people warm, but they have been linked to some fires and burns,” he said.
“Constant use can result in the reduction of the moisture content of the wheat, causing it to overheat and result in a fire or burns.”
Wheat bags safety tips
• Only buy wheat bags that come with clear heating instructions.
• Always carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use. Never overheat wheat bags.
• Don’t use wheat bags in confined spaces that can trap heat, such as under blankets or on bedding.
• Leave wheat bags to cool in a safe area and on a non-combustible surface.
• As soon as your wheat bag starts to smell burned or charred, or if you notice this smell when heating it, let it cool down in the kitchen sink and then dispose of it.
• Check the life of the wheat bag according to manufacturer’s instructions.
The CFA also recommends interconnected smoke alarms are installed in all bedrooms, hallways and living areas of your home.