Many of us like to think we’re multi-tasking masters because as we cook dinner, we also dart around the house making sure the kids are doing their homework, the pets are fed and the washing’s hung out, in between trying to watch our favourite TV programme. And when it comes to avoiding sub-Antarctic temperatures in the morning, we often think its fine to leave the heater on overnight too.
Unfortunately it’s during these kinds of scenarios that house fires happen. In fact, more than a quarter of all household fires start in the kitchen, often because people left their cooking unattended.
Kitchens aren’t the only danger spots in your house, though. TVs, clothes dryers, air conditioners and other electrical goods cause more than a third of all house fires, while faulty appliances were responsible for more than 10 per cent of house fire-related claims in the 12 months ending June 2015*.
Ultimately, preventing house fires comes down to regular maintenance. Check your appliances regularly to make sure they’re in ship-shape condition, properly installed and are of good quality. Keep an eye out for frayed electrical cords which could cause a spark too. Don’t overload power plugs and boards either – there’s a reason double power plugs only have room for two appliances!
Check out these helpful hints to keep your family and home fire safe:
- Never leave the kitchen while you’re cooking. Kids, pets and wet washing can wait!
- Clean electrical devices frequently including air conditioners, heat pumps, toasters and the filter on clothes dryers to help prevent fuelling a fire.
- Call 111 immediately if a fire starts and you can’t contain it.
- Install smoke alarms throughout your house and test them every month. If they’re battery-operated, change the batteries at least once a year – the beginning and end of daylight savings is a good way to remember.
- Create an evacuation plan with your whole family, make sure everyone knows it, and keep the plan visible, like on your fridge.
- Keep a fire extinguisher and fire blanket handy in the kitchen
- Don’t key-lock deadlocks on your doors when you’re at home, just in case you need to leave in a hurry. If you do lock doors with a key, always keep the key in the door.
To check for product safety recalls affecting all types of appliances in New Zealand issued back to 2014, visit the Consumer website.
*IAG claims data 2010 – 2014, IAG is the parent company to AMI Insurance.