Working smoke alarms will protect you, your whānau, and your home. Just like they did for Northland local, Hinerakei Allen.
Two weeks ago, Hinerakei headed into town with her husband to run errands. In her rush to get out the door, she forgot she’d left her pot of chicken and veggie broth simmering away on the stove top.
On the way back home two-hours later, Hinerakei received a phone call from her daughter saying their house was on fire.
"That’s when I remembered I’d left the stove on - the first time in more than 20 years we’ve been here. We rushed home and were both shaking," Hinerakei says.
Luckily for Hinerakei and her whānau, five years ago smoke alarms had been installed in every room of their house, except the bathroom.
On hearing the smoke alarms, the neighbours acted quickly and dialled 111. The Ahipara Volunteer Fire Brigade arrived shortly after, and Hinerakei was not far behind.
"The smoke alarms are pretty noisy! Because we have so many, they were all going off like crazy," Hinerakei says.
Ahipara Volunteer Chief Fire Officer, Dave Ross, who was at the scene, said the working smoke alarms saved Hinerakei’s house.
"When we arrived, the house was fully smoke logged. It was all locked up but there was one window open. We knew it was only a matter of moments before a fire took off," he says.
"A firefighter went through the window, turned off the stove immediately and covered the pot."
Dave Ross says the firefighters were only able to act this fast due to the working smoke alarms sounding and alerting the neighbours.
"Without the smoke alarms, the neighbour wouldn’t have known to call 111, the fire brigade wouldn’t have arrived on time, and the house wouldn’t be standing there today," he says.
"It just amplifies the necessity for working smoke alarms, ‘working’ being the key word here."
National Manager Community Readiness and Recovery, Steve Turek says what happened to Hinerakei is a timely reminder of the importance of having working smoke alarms.
"This daylight saving is the perfect time to set five minutes aside and check your smoke alarms are working," he says.
"Just push the button on each of your smoke alarms. If you hear the beep, you know they are ready to protect you and your household. We recommend one in every bedroom, living area and hallway."
Hinerakei says six of her kids were raised in that house and it would have been devastating to lose everything.
"The smoke alarms saved our home, but who knows, we could have been sleeping and they could have saved our lives."
You are four times more likely to survive a house fire if you have working smoke alarms. See tips on how to look after your smoke alarms at www.escapemyhouse.co.nz/sorted In a real house fire, you have less than three minutes to escape your house. Make your 3-step escape plan at www.escapemyhouse.co.nz