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Fire extinguisher trade-in programme extended

Fire extinguisher trade-in programme extended to urgently recover environmentally dangerous extinguishers

Wormald and the Ministry for the Environment have extended their joint halon extinguisher programme to the end of April 2003 to help prevent further damage to the ozone layer and potential fatalities.

The trade-in programme was launched in December 2002 with Wormald and the Ministry for the Environment covering the cost of sending dangerous Halon fire extinguishers to Australia to be destroyed when people handed them in. Special prices were also offered on new approved red fire extinguishers. The trade-in programme was due to finish at the end of February 2003.

Wormald has been educating the public on the hazardous nature of yellow fire extinguishers, which are filled with Halon. For every 1,000 units recovered we prevent the destruction of 20,000 tonne of atmospheric ozone.

The Halons found in yellow extinguishers are many times more harmful than the CFCs that used to be found in domestic refrigerators. Keith Cresswell, Wormald’s National Portable Fire Equipment Manager says more than 250 yellow extinguishers have been handed in to Wormald since December but we still have a long way to go. This represents only one third of those who have indicated that they wish to exchange. Only 30% of callers to the national help line have deposited their extinguishers with an outstanding balance still to come.

“We suspect many Kiwis have the hazardous yellow extinguishers in boats, batches, caravans, sheds, workshops or houses,” Mr Cresswell says.

“Owners of yellow fire extinguishers are putting their own lives at risk as well as the environment because they cannot be tested or refilled so are not guaranteed to work in an emergency situation.”

When yellow extinguishers are recovered they are sent to Australia for destruction in purpose-built facilities to prevent further damage to the ozone layer.

Marian Hobbs, Minister for the Environment said Halon fire extinguishers are extremely dangerous, not only because they may fail in a fire, but because Halon 1211 is very damaging to the ozone layer.

“The amount of ozone destroyed by one small fire extinguisher would fill many hundreds of dairy tankers,” Ms Hobbs said.

“The campaign is a partnership between government, industry and participating councils - everybody wins.”

Wormald is calling on New Zealanders to take this opportunity to update their fire protection and take advantage of this special offer: A 1.4kg Yellow Fire Extinguisher brought into any Wormald branch will be decommissioned free (usually costs $15.00 per kg) with the purchase of a Wormald 0.9kg Red Dry Powder Fire Extinguisher at $65 (GST INCL).

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