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Escape plans vital in multi-level homes

Escape plans vital in multi-level homes

Families living in multi-level homes need to be particularly vigilant about knowing how to escape from fire, Bay-Waikato Fire Region Manager Bill Butzbach said today.

Mr Butzbach said yesterday’s fatal Waihi fire was a tragic reminder of the speed and ferocity of fire.

Working smoke alarms had alerted the family to the fire, but some family members were trapped because of the way the fire spread. “Fires spread more quickly and are more deadly because of the synthetics used in furniture and furnishings. Families have only got minutes to get out.”

New Zealanders had got right behind the need for smoke alarms – with more than 80% of homes fitted with alarms – but the fire demonstrated that smoke alarms alone were not enough.

“Households need an escape plan so that everyone in the house knows what to do if a fire breaks out. This is vitally important if people are sleeping above the ground floor.

“We recommend people know and practice two ways to exit from their house. People who live in two storey homes need an alternate means to get down from the second floor, if their primary escape route is blocked.

“Many homes have security catches on windows so it is imperative that all family members know how to undo these quickly. That is why practising an escape is so important because people are under an immense amount of stress in a fire.”

The Fire Service has a range of educational material to assist families to prevent fires from happening and know what to if a fire occurs.


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