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Press the button – your life may depend on it

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Fire and Emergency New Zealand is urging New Zealanders to check their smoke alarms are working this Daylight Saving weekend.

“Checking the smoke is working by pressing the test button could save you and your family’s lives,” says national manager risk reduction, Roxanne Hilliard.

“A fire can be fatal within five minutes and when you’re sleeping you can’t smell smoke.”

Working smoke detectors are the most important way anyone can prepare for the possibility of a fire.

“If you don’t have them, put them in. We recommend having a long-life photo-electric smoke alarm in every hallway, sleeping and living area.

“If you do have them, don’t assume they are working. Whether you own your home or you’re renting, it’s up to you to check them. Smoke detectors don’t last forever.”

Landlords must provide working smoke alarms and replace them when they expire, but it is the tenant’s responsibility to maintain them and replace the batteries when needed.

Early detection from smoke alarms gives you and your family or housemates vital minutes but it’s also important to prepare and practise an escape plan so you can all get out safely.

“If you don’t have an escape plan, make one – and walk the family or your flatmates through it,” says Roxanne.

An easy way to make your escape plan is by visiting www.escapemyhouse.nz which guides people through five simple steps to ensure they and their families or housemates can survive a house fire.

“Your escape plan should include at least two clear paths out of the house, a safe meeting spot away from the house and ensuring your keys are easily accessible.

“The people who survive a life-threating emergency are not braver or stronger or smarter than others, they are the people who have worked out in advance what they will do in the event of the unexpected.”

To find out more about choosing, installing and checking your smoke alarms, visit www.fireandemergency.nz/athome/smoke-alarms.

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