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Fire and Emergency New Zealand is urging people to think about fire safety as they self-isolate to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Its chief executive Rhys Jones said with people staying home for at least the next four weeks, this is more important than ever.
“We’re heading into winter, and with households self-isolating together, there’ll be more cooking at home, and more use of open fires, heaters, and dryers - all things which can increase fire risk.
“We regularly attend fires caused by overloaded electrical outlets. So, if you’re working from home, please check your workspace set up to ensure plugs aren’t overloaded. Make sure your heating source is at least a metre away from everything – including other people, laundry and furniture. Keep your cooking surfaces free from grease and please – never, ever leave pans unattended on the stovetop,” Mr Jones said.
Mr Jones said this is a good time to press the button on all your smoke alarms to check they’re working.
“A house fire can kill in five minutes - go over an escape plan with everyone in your household.
“At times like this it’s really important to look after each other. So please also check in with vulnerable family members and neighbours. Do what you can to help them with their own fire safety preparations, as long as you can do so safely, following the advice about physical distancing on covid19.govt.nz,” he said
He said people can rest assured that Fire and Emergency is well-prepared and ready to respond to emergencies as usual during the nationwide self- isolation period.
Said Mr Jones: “If you do need to call 111 for a fire, we will ask you whether anyone at the address is self-isolating or has a confirmed case of COVID-19. Where this is the case, we already have necessary measures in place to ensure everyone’s safety including protective clothing, gloves, masks, safety glasses and masks.
“Our top priority is to keep your people and our people safe. Together we can prevent both the spread of COVID-19 and the often-devastating consequences of household fires.”