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Potentially dangerous fire extinguishers targeted

Potentially dangerous fire extinguishers targeted

The government and the fire protection industry are co-operating to get rid of potentially dangerous yellow halon fire extinguishers most commonly used in boats, caravans and baches, Environment Minister Marian Hobbs announced today. They will share 50/50 the collection and destruction costs of old, unreliable and environmentally damaging yellow halon fire extinguishers.

"On this first day of summer people should be looking to replace their halon fire extinguishers with red extinguishers before they head out in their boat or to their beach house," Marian Hobbs 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.

"We hope the zero cost of handing in their yellow extinguisher when they buy an approved red extinguisher will be an incentive for people to not only make themselves safer but also to help protect the environment." Yellow extinguishers have not been manufactured or comprehensively serviced in New Zealand since the early 1990s and may fail in a fire. They were once commonly found in homes and workplaces but as they became out of date they have gradually moved to baches, caravans and boats.

When yellow extinguishers are recovered they are sent to Australia for destruction in purpose-built facilities. This costs $20 per extinguisher and will be covered by the fire protection companies and the Ministry for the Environment.

Fire protection companies including the two biggest, Wormald Fire Protection and Chubb Systems & Services are also offering special prices on new red fire extinguishers when yellow fire extinguishers are handed-in. Consumers can also call: 0800 HALONHELP for information about participating retailers in their area.

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