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Householders: be vigilant about fire safety this summer

MEDIA RELEASE

Householders: be vigilant about fire safety this summer

3 December 2013: Summer has arrived, bringing with it backyard barbeques and Christmas celebrations, but also a higher risk of fire.

As New Zealand enters one of its peak fire periods, fire protection specialist Wormald is reminding homeowners to be extra vigilant about fire safety.

“To be prepared, householders should assess their premises for potential fire hazards and ensure their homes are fitted with adequate fire protection equipment,” said Dave Hipkins, National Technical Manager at Wormald. “This can help protect families and property from the catastrophic consequences of fire during what should be fun, festive time.”

Working smoke alarms are a crucial line of defence for every home. It is recommended that smoke alarms are positioned near sleeping areas, and one installed on each storey of the home. Householders are also reminded to check that smoke alarms are in proper working order by pressing the test button, and to regularly replace batteries.

“A smoke alarm can detect fire early and alert occupants to danger, giving them the precious extra time needed to escape. Early detection can help to mitigate the damage and cost caused by an uncontrolled fire,” said Hipkins.

Fire blankets and fire extinguishers are also important tools for protecting the home and should be easily accessible. Householders should be mindful of the various fire extinguishers available, and ensure they install the most appropriate extinguisher for their home or premises. It is recommended that every home is fitted with a multi-purpose dry powder extinguisher.

Hipkins warns it is not sufficient to simply install fire protection equipment, occupants must know how to use it. “Everyone in the house should be aware of where the fire protection equipment is located and how to operate it. In the event of a fire, occupants will need to act quickly and being prepared may mean the difference between life and death.”

To ensure the festive season goes off without a hitch, homeowners should identify potential fire hazards around the home, observe fire risk restrictions and bans and take the necessary precautions to prevent a fire. Wormald offers the following tips:

Fire protection equipment

•Ensure smoke alarms are installed and in proper working order

•Equip the home with appropriate fire extinguishers and fire blankets, placed in accessible locations.

Barbeques and outdoor fires

•Be aware of fire restrictions and bans in your area, and ensure you comply with these

•Monitor barbeques while lit. Once finished, turn off the gas cylinder and let the remaining gas in the pipe run through the barbeque before shutting it off.

•If a gas leak occurs, shut off the cylinder immediately and allow any gas to dissipate.

•Make sure a coal or wood fires is completely out before you leave it. Douse the fire in water if required.

•Allow hot ashes or coals to cool for 48 hours before removing them.

Christmas trees

•Locate Christmas trees a safe distance from any potential fire starting sources such as lamps or electrical sockets.

•Keep Christmas trees and decorations away from lights or candle flames.

•Source fairy lights from a reliable supplier and do not overload electrical sockets with an excessive number of lights or other electrical appliances.

More summer fire safety tips can be downloaded from Wormald’s resource centre at www.wormald.co.nz/resource-centre/summer-fire-safety-checklist.

- Ends -

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