Why Fire Safety is More Important Than Ever

Fire and Emergency New Zealand are emphasizing the importance of holding off on lighting any outdoor fires during the Covid-19 lockdown. Why? Because in these uncertain times, they want to ensure they can focus all of their limited staffing and resources into keeping the kiwis that urgently need assistance. 

Steve Turek, Fire and Emergency National Manager Community Readiness and Recovery, says, "we all want to get odd jobs done and clean up while we have more time at home but please do not burn unnecessary fires such as household rubbish or garden waste. Hold off applying for a permit for an outdoor fire until the lockdown is over." Turek also added that if you already have a permit or plan on setting fires for other activities to take the conditions into careful consideration before lighting. 

Fire and Emergency NZ are receiving lots of phone calls from people wanting fire permits, however, they are, "reluctant to put the public and our people at risk to conduct inspections."

If you have a permit, have checked the conditions and absolutely must light a fire, head to www.checkitsalright.nz to read over the regulations for your region on open fires. 

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Fire and Emergency NZ also want to make sure everyone, as we approach daylight savings, is double-checking their fire alarms.

Because of the increased time spent at home in lockdown, people are filling time with more frequent cooking and baking. Unattended cooking causes more fires and deaths than any other cause of the fire. Each year over 20,000 fires are attended by the Fire Service, including nearly 5,000 house fires. 

Additionally, as we begin to approach the colder months heaters of every variety are beginning to be plugged in once again. This means both fire risk for flammable items nearby or through overloading multi boards- two very common causes of fires. 

If something were to go wrong, having a smoke alarm in every bedroom could save your belongings, or even more importantly, yours or a loved one's life. In 80% of house fires attend each year, smoke alarms were either not installed or not working. Some important rules of thumb when it comes to winter heating are:

  • Remember the heater-metre rule – always keep furniture, curtains, clothes and children at least 1 metre away from heaters and fireplaces.
  • Never cover heating appliances or store objects on top of them.
  • Don't overload clothes dryers and clean the lint filter after each load cycle.

If you haven't already, check your fire alarm is still working. If not, you can buy new ones or batteries from your local Supermarket or Dairy- so long as you are a not high-risk person. Therefore get in contact with someone to safely collect these items for you or head to:

https://covid19.govt.nz/help-and-advice/for-everyone/help-accessing-essential-goods/

 

Steve Turek knows we can come out the other end of this stronger than ever, "help us by doing your bit to minimise the risk of fire, and the number of avoidable call outs for our first responders. Stay safe."

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