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Don’t Blame The Flame, Fire Service Tells Kiwis

Don’t Blame The Flame, Fire Service Tells Kiwis

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10 March 2008 For immediate release

Don’t Blame The Flame, Fire Service Tells Kiwis

Firefighters say thousands of house fires in New Zealand every year could be prevented if people took more care around their homes.

The Fire Service’s new hard-hitting campaign aims to slash the number of house fires by showing people that most blazes are not accidental.

“The fact is the majority of the 3,500 plus house fires we attend each year are entirely preventable. Sadly, the three main causes of fire are men, women and children” says New Zealand Fire Service National Commander, Mike Hall.

“People tend to blame the flame but, if they took more responsibility for eliminating hazards in their homes, we wouldn’t have to attend thousands of house fires a year, which are traumatic for everyone involved.”

Whereas previous campaigns have focused on the power and ferocity of fire, the new one identifies the risks and encourages people to take instant action by checking their heaters, their cooking and other potential dangers.

Last year, the Fire Service attended more than 3,500 house fires which resulted in an estimated 150 million dollars in property damage.

“Our research shows that most New Zealanders think house fires are accidents but that’s simply not true. If people were more aware of the risks and the times of the day when most fires occur, we could reduce the number of house fires dramatically.”

Most house fires occur between midday and midnight at times when people are cooking, coming home from work and putting the heater on or having a cigarette before going to bed.

“In 2007, for example, unattended cooking caused 973 fires, and 291 fires started with people putting flammable materials too close to heaters or open fires. Each one of those fires could have been avoided,” says Hall.

Other preventable fires were caused by people not extinguishing their cigarettes and candles properly.

The new campaign, which starts on Sunday 9 March and will run throughout the year, features a series of advertisements, targeting different at-risk groups, including smokers and household cooks.

“We want the campaign to compel people to immediately check the hazards in their homes to prevent unnecessary fires and loss.

“If New Zealanders were a little more pro-active in eliminating these risks, a great deal of time, money and heartache would be saved,” says Hall.


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