Warning to install smoke alarms in garages used as bedrooms
8 October 2013
Rise in use of garages as bedrooms prompts warning to install smoke alarms
The Fire Service is urging people to install smoke alarms in garages and other outside rooms being used as a sleep out, following last week’s death of a Masterton man in a garage fire.
National Manager of Fire Investigation Peter Wilding said at least one person dies every year in a fire in shed, garage, caravan or other building being used as a bedroom.
“Since 2005, 12 people have died in these types of fires and we can find no evidence that any of them had a smoke alarm installed. In some cases the fires were quite small but quickly used up the oxygen and generated toxic gases, leading to death.”
He said smoke alarms can alert neighbours, family or friends living in the house on the property, as well as those inside the sleep out. “Having a smoke alarm in a sleep-out significantly improves someone’s chances of getting out alive if there is a fire.”
He said using a garage as a sleep out was a common practice for many extended families, teenagers and as a low cost rental option.
“Garages are typically open plan and fires grow quickly, often fed by stored items such as cardboard boxes, furnishings and flammable materials like motor oil, petrol and solvents.”
Mr Wilding said a long life smoke alarm should be installed in every room used for sleeping including, sleep-outs, garages and caravans, even when they are only used occasionally.
Each year, there are over 300 fires in garages, sleep outs and caravans. In almost all cases (average 97 per cent), there were no smoke alarms installed