First of 1500 free smoke alarms installed

Fire and Emergency New Zealand

First of 1500 free smoke alarms installed

Fire and Emergency New Zealand’s Northland Area Manager Wipari Henwood today installed the first of 1500 donated smoke alarms in a home in Whangarei to mark the start of Fire and Emergency’s daylight saving campaign.

The alarms have been donated by insurance company AMI.

The first 500 will be installed in Northland as part of home fire safety visits by Fire and Emergency, Habitat for Humanity and iwi organisations: He Iwi Kotahi Tatou Trust Moerewa, Whakawhiti Ora Pai Te Kao and Te Rūnanga o Te Rawara.

“Northland has many remote, isolated communities,” Mr Henwood says. “By partnering with these organisations we are able to help people that we would not otherwise be able to reach to protect themselves.

“In the past five and a half years almost two thirds of the 659 house fires in Northland occurred in homes without working smoke alarms.”

AMI’s Community Engagement Manager, Eve Whitwell, says the insurer is proud to donate the smoke alarms to such a good cause.

“Every year we hear from customers about how devastating house fires can be and the important role smoke alarms play in keeping your whanau safe. We strongly recommend everyone checks their smoke alarms are working so we can help make New Zealand safer.”

Fire and Emergency National Advisor Fire Risk Management Peter Gallagher says the remainder of the donated alarms will be distributed throughout the country through the home fire safety visit programme.

Today’s event marks the start of the daylight saving campaign to remind people to check their alarms when they put their clocks forward.

“Alarms save lives,” Mr Gallagher says. “The overwhelming majority of preventable fire deaths occur in properties without working smoke alarms. Alarms give people time to get themselves and their families to safety.’’

For optimum smoke detection, alarms should be installed in every bedroom, living area and hallway in a house.  At an absolute minimum they should be installed in the hallway closest to the bedrooms and supplemented, as soon as possible, with other alarms.

There are two main types of smoke alarm  – ionisation and photo-electric.

Fire and Emergency recommends people install long-life photoelectric smoke alarms because:

  • They detect smouldering fires more quickly
  • They provide up to 10 years smoke detection
  • They remove the frustration of fixing the “flat battery beep”
  • People don’t have to climb ladders every year to replace batteries;
  • And although photoelectric alarms can be more expensive initially, they pay for themselves over time because people don’t have to buy replacement batteries.