Dry winter ramps up fire risk

Households need to clean their fireplaces before their first burn of the season.

With the onset of winter, the Auckland region has moved to an open fire season, but unusually dry conditions mean there are still risks.

Warkworth Fire Station manager Devan Flewellyn says despite recent greening of grass, the ground is still dry.

“You should only be lighting fires in the right conditions. Pay attention to the wind direction and what is nearby and notify neighbours,” he says.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand is reminding households to be vigilant of fire risks as they bring out sources of heating such as electric blankets.

Electric blankets should be replaced every five years, and when stored they should be rolled not folded.

“Twisted cords are a common cause of electric blanket fires. Make sure the blanket is always flat on the bed and that controls or cords are not caught between the mattress and the base of the bed,” FENZ warns.

“If you have a fireplace, take precautions to ensure a fire doesn’t spark or spread and make sure your chimneys and flues have been cleaned first.”

Flammable materials should be kept at least one metre away from heaters.

Only one appliance, including a heater, should be plugged into a multi-plug at a time.

The Residential Tenancy Act requires landlords to replace expired smoke alarms with photoelectric smoke alarms with a long-life battery.

Tenants are responsible for checking smoke alarms are working each month by pushing the button to sound the alarm.

Every six months, smoke alarms should be vacuumed or dusted.

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