Many people who have met me over recent years have probably only known me as a real estate agent. What may come as a surprise to some is that before my shift to real estate, I was a professional firefighter for 24 years, with over half of this career served as a supervising officer.
During this time I witnessed countless tragedies that resulted in the loss of homes and lives, or serious injuries. Sadly, most (if not all) of these losses may have been avoided with better fire safety awareness.
In this article, rather than reinventing the wheel, I pulled together all the best information available from Fire and Emergency New Zealand. Where there is more detailed information available on a topic I will include links to the Fire and Emergency NZ Website.
There is a lot more to learn about smoke alarms, for example:
For all the information you need to know about smoke alarms for your home, take a look at this smoke alarm guide.
Did you know a house fire can kill you in less than five minutes? In a fire, you’ll probably be scared and disorientated. Unlike in the movies, toxic smoke will make it hard to breathe and see clearly as it quickly fills rooms down towards the floor level. You will only have 1 or 2 minutes from the sounding of the smoke alarm to when your life is seriously threatened by fire or smoke. That’s why it’s essential to have an escape plan in place, for the family to practice it regularly, and to know how to get to safety quickly.
To build an effective escape plan you will need to think about:
Take five minutes now to create your escape plan now, so you can escape then.
Did you know that one in four house fires start in the kitchen? Making your kitchen fire-safe is a really important part of having a fire-safe home. Here are some simple things you can do to reduce the risk of a fire starting in the kitchen.
When you’re cooking:
· Don’t drink and fry. Alcohol is involved in half of all fatal fires. Instead, pre-prepare a meal, get takeaways or use the microwave. Never attempt to drink alcohol or take medication that makes you sleepy when cooking.
· Don’t leave the room when cooking. If you have to, always turn off the stove first. Unattended cooking is the leading cause of house fires in New Zealand.
· Keep curtains, tea towels, oven mitts, and any flammable items well away from the cooking area when you’re cooking.
Keeping a clean and safe kitchen:
· Clean your stove-top after each use. This prevents spilled fats and burnt foods from building up.
· Clean range-hood filters regularly.
· Keep a fire extinguisher and a fire blanket somewhere in your kitchen. Make sure you know how to use them.
Don’t install a smoke alarm in your kitchen. Smoke and heat from cooking (and the toaster) can activate the alarm. Smoke alarms shouldn’t be installed in the bathroom or laundry either.
You can still protect these areas with a heat alarm. A heat alarm is designed to activate when the room reaches a set temperature. They are useful in places where a smoke alarm would usually give false alarms.
For more information, take a look at our smoke alarm guide.
If a fire starts:
If you have a fire extinguisher in your home, you’ll be better prepared to put out small fires before they become big ones.
Using a fire extinguisher.
Only use a fire extinguisher when:
For more information on fire extinguishers, including how to operate one, what type of extinguisher to select, and where to install them, I recommend you go to – www.fireandemergency.nz/at-home/fire-extinguishers
Home Fire Safety Checklists:
Want to make sure your home is fire safe? Use the Fire and Emergency NZ home fire safety checklists to find anything that might be putting you at risk.
Your local fire station should be your first point of contact for any advice you may need about fire safety in your home. When I was still in the NZ Fire Service we would happily install smoke alarms at no cost for homeowners who were unsure of where or how to install their alarms.
I hope you have gained some useful information from reading this blog. I wish you and your loved ones a cozy & safe Winter ahead.
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