Winter fire safety tips

smoke alarm image

Issue 51 – July 2013

Once the cold weather sets in, the risk of a fire in the home increases. More people start to use more appliances and heaters, and fires are cranked up.

Firefighters and fire risk management officers are urging people to be fire-safe this winter.

New Zealand Fire Service (NZFS) figures show common causes of fire in winter are faulty appliances; overloaded multi boards; drying clothing too close to a heater or fire; hot ashes and embers not being properly disposed of; and blocked chimneys.

Throughout the year, the most common cause of fire in the home is unattended cooking. The number of these kitchen fires increases slightly in winter, as more people cook and eat at home.

Between 15 to 20 people die in avoidable house fires each year and there are around 3800 fires in New Zealand homes each year. Each one causes an average of $40,000 worth of damage.

The top fire safety tips from the NZFS for winter are:

  • keep looking while you are cooking
  • keep everything at least a metre from a heater
  • put hot ash and embers in a metal container and wet thoroughly before disposal (it can take up to 5 days for ash and embers to completely die out).
  • have your chimney and electric blankets checked before winter
  • do not put too many plugs into your multi boards
  • remember that smoke alarms save lives.

Summarised from the NZFS Fire+Rescue magazine, June 2013.


Published in consumer and occupational safety.