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Safe as houses

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WORKING SMOKE ALARMS SAVE SLEEPERS. HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW.

Did you know that you can’t smell smoke when you are asleep?
Studies have shown that humans are one of the few animals who lose their sense of smell when they are asleep*. Add to this the large amount of toxic chemicals produced in a modern house fire and you’ve got a deadly combination.

Here are some helpful tips to keep you and your family safe in case of a fire in your home:

  • Have a smoke alarm in every bedroom and in the exit paths to give you the best chance of early detection of a fire. It’s important to have them in each bedroom so that when the door is closed, the alarm is still able to be heard.
  • Fire and Emergency New Zealand often turns up to fires where smoke alarms were there, but not working, which is why you must test your alarms regularly, give them a clean every few months and replace them after 10 years. Fire and Emergency New Zealand recommends long-life photoelectric smoke alarms because they offer early detection of fire, are less prone to false alarms and only require a test and a clean to keep them working.
  • It’s important to have an escape plan from your home with an agreed safe meeting place to get to when the alarm activates. Smoke can be very disorienting, so practise your escape plan regularly so that it becomes second nature to everyone in the house. Kids will enjoy some role play activities, practising staying low and crawling out of the house. Go to escapeplanner.co.nz where it takes 10 minutes to make an escape plan for your home, or contact Fire and Emergency New Zealand for expert advice.
  • Smoke alarm technology is changing all the time and new alarms are now available with different sounds to wake you. Some children and adults can be difficult to wake so look for the best sound of alarm that alerts your family.

*Minimal Olfactory Perception During Sleep: Why Odor Alarms Will Not Work for Humans," Rachel S. Herz, Brown University, May 2004.

Brought to you by Fire and Emergency New Zealand

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