Fewer fire fatalities but no room for complacency
The number of people dying in house fires is at an alltime low but there is still more to be done, the fire service says.
Ten Kiwis lost their lives in house fires in the past 12 months.
Among them was a Mt Wellington woman and a 6-year-old Oranga girl.
This year’s toll is the lowest on record and half the number of last year’s deaths.
However most fatalities were avoidable, fire service chief executive and national commander Paul Baxter says.
on Harding Ave, Mt Wellington, that killed one woman in October, started when she fell asleep while smoking.
There were no working smoke alarms in the house – a common factor in most fatal fires.
Little Anaseini Ma’asi died a month later in her Oranga home. It is believed the fire was started by a younger child playing with matches.
‘‘It is important we all take lessons from these deaths,’’ Baxter says.
People living alone, using alcohol and leaving cooking unattended are other common factors.
Many fatal fires happen in rented houses. It is not a legal requirement for landlords to install smoke alarms but Housing New Zealand puts them in all its properties.
And while insurance com- panies recommend smoke alarms, whether you have them or not doesn’t usually affect whether a claim is paid out.
There are more than 3000 house fires in New Zealand every year. The most common cause is people not paying attention when cooking.
‘‘We cannot afford to be complacent – we are aware of some fires where families and individuals escaped death by mere seconds,’’ Baxter says.
The fire service recommends installing long-life photoelectric smoke alarms.
Fire wise: Fewer people are dying in house fires.