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Kiwis reminded to stay fire safe

Photo: File/SunLive.

Fire and Emergency is urging New Zealanders to stay fire safe after fires over the weekend caused extensive damage to homes throughout the country. 

A heater too close to flammable materials started a fire in a Christchurch caravan used as a sleep out. A house in Manawatu suffered damage from fire that started in the chimney.

Two instances where cooking was left unattended on the stove in Otago, one in a home and one in an accommodation lodge, resulted in a fire starting and a house fire in Whanganui also started after a pan was left on the stove and the oil caught fire.

"It was lucky in these instances everyone managed to get to safety, especially the Christchurch caravan which did not have a working smoke alarm," says National Manager Community Readiness and Recovery Steve Turek.

"A fire can be deadly within just three minutes which is why it’s so important to get that early warning of fire from your smoke alarms. Make sure you have them in all bedrooms, hallways and living areas - including caravans and sleep outs. Check they are working by pressing the button each month.

"Fire is not just extremely fast but it’s also extremely disorienting. The smoke makes it difficult for you to see, hear and think. That’s why your household should also have an escape plan, and practice it, so you can get out quickly and safely.

"If you haven’t already, you can make an escape plan at www.escapemyhouse.co.nz." 

He says people should check on elderly family and neighbours who may need it to make sure they have an escape plan and working smoke alarms too.

"Taking the time now to do these simple things and make sure you’re prepared could save you and your loved ones’ lives."

Fire safety tips

- Make sure you have working smoke alarms in all bedrooms, hallways and living areas - even for caravans and sleep outs

- Make sure you have, and practice, an escape plan

- Never leave cooking unattended. If you need to leave the stove, no matter how brief, make sure you switch it off until you come back

- Keep anything that could catch fire at least one meter from your heater or heat source

- Make sure your chimney is swept before you use it for the first time of the season

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