Top tips for staying fire safe this winter

Fire safety winter

Fire and Emergency New Zealand has some simple steps to keep people safe from fire as the temperature drops

“Every year, get your chimney swept and cleaned before the first fire of the season,” community education manager Adrian Nacey says.

“Over the last 10 years, we’ve seen a 54% increase in the number of winter house fires caused by heat sources, such as chimney fires, and fires caused by heaters, ash disposal, electric blankets, and dryers.

“Encouragingly, these kinds of fires are now on the decrease — by seven percent in the last three years compared to the previous six years,” he says.

“We want that trend to continue. People need to take some simple steps to reduce the risk of a fire in their homes this winter.

“Always use a fireguard or spark guard when you have a fire and make sure you dispose of ash carefully. Ashes can stay hot for up to five days, so be sure they are left to cool in a metal bin before being disposed of.

“Keep drying clothing, curtains, bedding, and anything flammable at least a metre away from the heater.

“In winter, more people will be using dryers to dry clothes and bedding. A clean dryer avoids a fire, so remember
to clean the lint filter before each use.”

Adrian says other home heating appliances such as electric blankets are also a fire risk.

“Old or damaged electric blankets can be a hazard, so you should test your electric blanket at the start of winter.

“Electric blankets are for heating beds before you get in, not for sleeping with, so remember to turn your electric blanket off before you get into bed.

“Cords and controls should not be twisted or, when laid on the bed, caught between the mattress and the bed. Twisted cords are a common cause of electric blanket fires,” he says.

For step-by-step instructions on how to prepare your home heating appliances, visit

Source: Fire and Emergency New Zealand

Photo: Adobe Stock

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