Smoke alarms prove lifesaving in Titahi Bay

Fire and Emergency New Zealand

Smoke alarms prove lifesaving in Titahi Bay

A resident in Titahi Bay is thankful for the smoke alarms that alerted them and their neighbours to a kitchen fire over the weekend.

Acting Area Commander Michael Dombroski says the house was well ablaze when volunteers from the Titahi Bay Volunteer Fire Brigade and career firefighters from Porirua arrived just after 3.30pm on Saturday (10 April 2021).

"The fire started in the kitchen, after cooking was left unattended, and shows just how quickly a fire can start and spread - it only takes three minutes for a house fire to become deadly," he says.

"It’s a timely reminder to make sure you never leave your cooking unattended. We know it’s easy to get distracted when cooking - whether it is by the phone, TV, children or falling asleep - but as this weekend’s incident shows, it’s dangerous.

"One in four house fires start in the kitchen and unattended cooking is the leading cause of house fires in New Zealand.

"That’s why we have a new "distraction stakes race to the flames" video campaign starting this week, with the help of sports commentator Grant Nisbett.

"We really hope you aren’t the next to win the "race to the flames". So if you need to leave the kitchen while you’re cooking, please make sure you switch off the stove before you walk away.

"Luckily, during the fire on Saturday the smoke alarms alerted the occupant and neighbours to the fire and they were able to get out safely.

"But 33% of residential fires attended by firefighters last year didn’t have smoke alarms to alert the occupant and neighbours to the fire - so it could have been a different story.

"Make sure you have smoke alarms and they are installed on the ceiling. We recommend at least one in every bedroom, hallway and living area.

"Your smoke alarms won’t be able to give you that vital early warning of fire if they are in the cupboard or aren’t working! So it’s also important to press the button to check they are in working order.

"It could save your life."

Watch the full "Distraction stakes race to the flames" video.

Go to https://www.escapemyhouse.co.nz/sorted for more tips on smoke alarms. You can also find more home fire safety tips at https://fireandemergency.nz/at-home/.