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Heater metre rule reminder

A Gisborne house fire late last week has prompted a reminder from Fire and Emergency NZ to keep flammable materials at least one metre from a heater.

National Manager Community Resilience and Recovery Steve Turek said the Gisborne incident started after clothes were put on a heater to dry and caught fire.

“Always remember the ‘heater metre rule', he said.“Clothes, bedding or anything that could catch fire should always be at least one metre away from a heat source.

“Any closer and there is a very real risk they may catch alight and start a fire.”

Mr Turek said the incident also served as a reminder to make sure homes have working smoke alarms.

“It is lucky the house in Gisborne had working smoke alarms which alerted the occupant to the fire and gave them time to get to safety.

“Fire is extremely fast and can be deadly within minutes, which is why that early warning from smoke alarms is so essential.”

Fire could be disorienting, so it was also important to be prepared and have an escape plan.

“If you haven't already, press the button on your smoke alarms to check they are working and make an escape plan at www.escapemyhouse.co.nz,” said Mr Turek.

“Taking a few minutes now to do these simple things could save your life.”