Every year New Zealand has between 20000-23000 urban and rural fires that require response from emergency services, and cause 30-40 fatalities. These are predominantly from house and industrial fires. Every New Zealander should be prepared for what to in the case of a house fire and have the necessary fire alarms and fire extinguishers to assist in case of fire. To reduce the impact of fire on you and your loved ones, there are measures you can take.
Make your home fire safe
- Smoke detectors save lives. Install a battery-powered smoke detector outside each sleeping area and on each additional level of your home. Use the test button to check each smoke detector once a month. When necessary, replace batteries immediately. Replace batteries at least once a year.
- Have a working fire extinguisher in the kitchen. Get training from the fire department in how to use it. Also include in the kit written instructions on how to turn off your home's utilities.
- Conduct periodic fire drills, so everyone remembers what to do when there is a fire.
Plan your escape routes
- Determine at least two ways to escape from every room of your home. If you must use an escape ladder, be sure everyone knows how to use it.
- Select a location outside your home where everyone would meet after escaping.
- Practice your escape plan at least twice a year. Once you are out, stay out!
- If you see smoke in your first escape route, use your second way out.
- If you must exit through smoke, crawl low under the smoke to escape.
- If you are escaping through a closed door, feel the door before opening it. If it is hot, use your second way out.
- If smoke, heat, or flames block your exit routes, stay in the room with the door closed. Signal for help using a bright-colored cloth at the window.
- If there is a telephone in the room, call the fire department and tell them where you are.
Plan and get ready
- Fire is one of the most common disasters. Fire causes more deaths than any other type of disaster.
- But fire doesn't have to be deadly if you have early warning from a smoke detector and everyone in your family knows how to escape calmly. Please be serious about the responsibility for planning for and practicing what to do in case of a fire.
- Put together disaster supplies kits and show family members where they are located.