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Hand In Dangerous Yellow Fire Extinguishers

MEDIA RELEASE

November 2003

Public Urged To Hand In Dangerous Yellow Fire Extinguishers

Up to 20,000 extinguishers still unaccounted for

Auckland (Nov. 20, 2003) – The Fire Protection Industry and the Ministry for the Environment are urging the public to hand in for recovery any hazardous Yellow Halon BCF fire extinguishers (BCF extinguishers) they still have.

Owners of the extinguishers, which contain harmful halon BCF, can contact any Fire Protection Service listed in the Yellow Pages to find out where they can drop off the extinguishers. Under a programme arranged by the Fire Protection Industry and the Ministry for the Environment, the extinguishers will be accepted free of charge for the next three months.

Halon BCF is extremely damaging to the ozone layer, and the yellow extinguishers have not been able to be manufactured or serviced for many years. There is a good chance the old extinguishers will fail in an emergency.

“We need to collect these extinguishers because they are dangerous to the environment and they might not work in an emergency situation,” said John Fraser, director and chief operating officer of Halon Recycling N.Z. Ltd.

“There are up to 20,000 of these dangerous extinguishers hanging around in houses, boats, batches, and caravans throughout the country,” Mr Fraser said. “They are obsolete and unsafe and need to be recovered.”

Marian Hobbs, Minister for the Environment said Halon does more damage to the ozone layer than any other substances and she wants to see people get behind the recovery programme.

“The campaign is a partnership between government and industry and the public and everyone will win.”

The recovery programme is managed by the Fire Protection Association Company, which has organised for the public to call any member of the Fire Protection industry – listed under this title in the Yellow Pages – to find out where they can hand in their extinguishers.
The Halon extinguishers are sent for destruction in purpose-built facilities to prevent any damage to the ozone layer.

“We need to protect the environment and these obsolete extinguishers should not be disposed of in household rubbish,” Mr Fraser said.

Mr Fraser also noted that when handing in their old extinguishers people should discuss safe alternatives for protecting their homes, caravans or boats with members of the Fire Protection Association.

“A fire extinguisher is an important safety device to have so we would encourage people to discuss options with the experts,” he said.

Information on the programme is also available on the Halon Help line at 0800 425 664

ENDS

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