Response to new fire safety website encouraging

Fire and Emergency New Zealand

Response to new fire safety website encouraging

Fire and Emergency New Zealand says it is delighted that more than 52,000 people have visited a new website designed to help them escape their homes in the event of a fire.

"Fewer than 40 per cent of New Zealanders have escape plans so it’s encouraging that more people are starting to think about how they will get themselves and their families to safety in a fire," National Advisor Fire Risk Management Peter Gallagher says.

"Most people think they’ll react quickly and clearly enough in an emergency to get to safety, but reality shows that people don’t behave rationally in a panic situation.

"Survivors survive not because they are braver or more heroic than other people, but because they are better prepared."

The Escape My House website guides people through the five simple things they need to do to ensure they and their families can survive a house fire. The plan is then emailed to participants so they can practice it at home. The website can be viewed here

Of the more than 52,000 people to visit the site since it was launched on June 17, more than 12,000 have completed the steps to learn what constitutes a good plan.

Peter Gallagher says that’s a good start, but Fire and Emergency won’t be satisfied until all families have escape plans.

"Every year we attend incidents in which lives have been needlessly lost because people have not planned what they would do in the event of a fire. Everything changes in the intense heat of a fire when rooms fill with smoke, you can’t see and it’s a struggle to breathe."

Peter Gallagher says people need to work out the quickest escape route, remove obstacles, plan for locked doors or windows, and agree on a safe place to meet outside to ensure everyone in the house has got out safely.

"Having an escape plan is the next most important thing after making sure you have working smoke alarms in every room that people occupy.

"Unfortunately, house fires do happen - one occurs about every three hours somewhere in New Zealand - so it’s vital people know what to do and practice how to get out alive."