When it’s time to put the clocks back at the end of daylight savings on Sunday 3 April, it’s also time to check your smoke alarms as well as other potential fire hazards around the home ahead of winter.


Check electrical wiring, switchboards and appliances

Significant fires can start behind appliances. It’s a good idea to check the cords, plugs and sockets of large appliances like dishwashers, ovens and fridges. We also suggest checking smaller appliances like electric blankets, heaters, irons and toasters. Check that you’ve connected one appliance only to each socket: whether to a single power point or a multi-board and that you’re not overloading power points with double adapters. If you’re concerned about any electrical wiring or switchboard in your house, ask a qualified electrician to examine it and replace it if needed. You’ll be at greater risk of fire in houses (such as those over 60 years old) not upgraded with new electrical wiring and switchboards.

Check your fireplace

Rural properties are twice as likely to use wood fires. What’s more, the damage caused by rural house fires is often worse because of the extra time it takes for emergency services to arrive. Do you have a fireguard? Often a fire starts because the fireplace has no fireguard. The fire can spread to nearby items (such as rugs and carpets) that start to burn. A fireguard helps to prevent sparks, embers and logs rolling onto the floor when a door is opened. Inspect and clean your fireplace and chimney. If you’re concerned, ask a certified expert to inspect your fireplace and chimney for deterioration. Regularly sweep your chimney, including the flue, to remove any debris and build-up of creosote, soot and ash.

Check your smoke alarms

Fire and Emergency New Zealandhas found that one third (33%) of the residential fires attended last year did not have smoke alarms installed. Clear your driveway Make sure that emergency services can access your property should a fire occur—now’s a good time to clear your driveway of low branches and any other obstructions.

To learn more about the causes of house fires and advice on how to reduce fire risks, check out our House Fires Advice Guide or head to Fire and Emergency New Zealand's website fireandemergency.nz