Simple steps to prevent fire at home

Recently the Auckland Fire Service attended two avoidable kitchen fires, which were detected early enough to prevent the houses from being burnt down.

Nationally, we attend to about 90 electric toaster fires in the kitchen, each year.

Our information currently does not identify ‘Kitchen Appliance Garage’ cabinets.

However, fire investigations have established (as in these two cases), that there are many similar fire incidents.

The presence of what we call “Kitchen Appliance Garage” is a new design initiative in new homes and kitchen refurbishments. The garages store kitchen appliances behind a roll-down door, leaving the bench free of clutter.

Here are a few simple preventative measures: 1. Check your appliance garage and toaster to see if it is possible to accidentally push down the toaster lever with the garage door 2. Park your toaster sideways so that you see the side of the toaster when you close the shutter door 3. Switch off and disconnect at the plug when you have finished using the toaster 4. Take extra care when closing the roller door to ensure that no accidental operation of the toaster (or to other appliances) occurs.

You should also have working smoke alarms in all living areas of your home.

The Fire Service recommends, 10-year, photoelectric smoke alarms.

You should have a fire escape plan in case you have a fire in your home.

George Stephens is Senior Fire Risk Management Officer at the New Zealand Fire Service

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