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Install sprinklers, building owners urged

Warehouse and factory owners are leaving themselves, their neighbours and the environment open to needless destruction, firefighters warn.

The warning follows two disastrous chemical fires in Tauranga and Hastings.

“There are three ways building owners can stop all this happening in the first place – install sprinklers, install sprinklers, install sprinklers” says Fire Service fire safety manager Gary Talbot.

“We are constantly hammering home that message. Sometimes it seems we are talking to ourselves.”

“The chemicals are a side issue, really. Fires don’t start with chemicals, there are only three causes of fires – men, women and children.”

“It’s a combination of protecting the risk – install sprinklers – and educating employees in safe ways to work around chemicals and other hazardous materials.”

Fire Service statistics have revealed a big increase in major chemical fires in New Zealand, from three a year between 1999 and 2003, to seven during 2004/05 and five so far this year.

Increased consumption of industrial chemicals is a sign of a booming economy, says Gary.

“But it makes it all the more important for building owners and occupiers of these types of premises to think safety and prevention, for themselves, for their neighbours and for the environment.”

“It’s simple: Install sprinklers.”

ENDS

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