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Fire Service gives IHC safety the tick

Fire Service gives IHC safety the tick

June 22, 2006

New Zealand’s largest non-governmental residential property owner has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) waiving the need for Fire Service approval of evacuation schemes in its 850 homes.

The New Zealand Fire Service and IHC New Zealand Inc have formalised their existing partnership to ensure that the 3000 people with intellectual disabilities who live in IHC houses are protected by best fire safety practice.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by the chief executives of both organisations last week acknowledging IHC’s excellent fire safety procedures and, in a first for the property management sector, recognising that these in-house processes waive the need for Fire Service approval for each property.

IHC procedures require timed trial evacuations in every home at least twice a year. In a few cases where time to evacuate exceeds an agreed safe benchmark, additional fire protection measures are taken, the most common being installation of modern home sprinklers.

IHC has fitted home sprinklers in seven percent of its homes since 2003.

The MoU commits IHC to progressively install sprinklers in its homes.

The Fire Service and IHC will continue to consult about best fire safety practice, share information, and monitor new trends and developments in fire safety technology.

"This is a mutually beneficial agreement which is ultimately going to decrease the chances of those living in IHC homes ever experiencing a serious fire,” says Mike Hall, Fire Service chief executive / national commander.

"The Fire Service applauds IHC for their comprehensive and consultative approach to fire safety and we look forward to continuing to work with them in this area."

IHC chief executive Ralph Jones agrees that working together to keep up with new technologies and information about fire safety is important.

“Our first priority is to keep the people living in our homes safe. Working in partnership with the Fire Service is the key to reaching and maintaining the highest level of fire safety.”

ENDS

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