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People urged to make Daylight Saving, life saving

People urged to make Daylight Saving, life saving

Firefighters are urging people to check and test their smoke alarms, as they turn out to an average of nine house fires a day.

Last year crews responded to a total of 3,143 fires at residential homes throughout the country, but only half or 1569 of those homes were recorded as having smoke alarms.

Fire and Emergency’s principal advisor for risk management, Mike Shaw, says working smoke alarms save lives, giving people an early alert to a fire in their home and the best chance of escaping alive.

"As we approach Daylight Saving, it’s a good reminder for people to check they have smoke alarms installed and to test their batteries are working and check the alarm’s expiry date," he says.

"A lot of people don’t realise most smoke alarms expire after ten years, so they need to replace them."

Mr Shaw says working smoke alarms are people’s only hope if there’s a house fire, especially if they’re sleeping.

"When you’re asleep you generally won’t wake up if there’s a fire because once you start breathing in the toxic smoke, you go into a deeper sleep."

Whanganui firefighter Gary Ward knows first-hand the importance of having working smoke alarms in his home.

He awoke one night to the blaring sound of the alarm going off to discover a pillow had caught fire in his teenage son’s room.

His son had accidentally knocked over a touch-sensitive light during his sleep and it fell onto a pillow, igniting it.

Luckily Mr Ward sprang into action at the sound of the alarm, swiftly putting the fire out and ensuring his son, who also woke up, was safe.

"Afterwards when I was thinking about what had happened, I realised that if hadn’t had those working smoke alarms, me or my son may not have woken up," he says.

"As a firefighter I’ve spent years teaching people about the importance of smoke alarms, however this just goes to show that fires can happen to anyone.We felt we were a safety conscious family with a safe house.The lesson for me is that everyone has to be prepared for fire by having working smoke alarms and an escape plan; it may well save your family."

Fire and Emergency New Zealand recommends using long-life photoelectric smoke alarms.

For more information about smoke alarms and how to check and test them please visit

To plan your escape route in the event of a fire visit


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