Smoke alarm plan has town covered
JOHN EDENS IN QUEENSTOWN
Kingston fire brigade volunteers will install smoke detectors in every house and crib in the village, reinforcing fire service warnings aimed at keeping people safe.
The 16-member brigade is using money from its fundraising pot to buy hundreds of detectors at a discounted rate from Mitre 10.
Kingston brigade volunteer Pete Ottley, who also works for Mitre 10, said members had been discussing how to spend some of the funds raised over the years. Mitre 10 chief executive officer John Hartmann jumped at the idea, providing 100 free detectors and hundreds of alarms at discounted rates, he said.
Duane Hibbs, a fire brigade volunteer for 12 years, said the brigade wanted to give something back to the community.
"We're always fundraising. We just thought, `let's spend some of it'."
Mr Ottley said he asked Mr Hartmann for help and an initial order was placed for 200 smoke detectors. The project will cost between $3000 and $4000 to fit two smoke alarms in more than 200 properties. Fire brigade volunteers will install the alarms and provide checkups.
Leaflets were distributed around Kingston to let residents know that free alarms were available.
Mr Ottley said that in a classic case about six months ago, a crib owner had fallen asleep after a late-night meal and woke to find smoke above his head. The house had a smoke alarm but was missing its battery.
"People are just a bit blase and think it never happens to them, but it does. We don't want to be called out to something we don't want to see."
Mr Hibbs said the installation of the alarms in houses and cribs could start this month.
The project follows a series of house fires in Central Otago and Invercargill, which has one of the highest rates of residential fires in New Zealand.
The fire service recommends installing alarms in every room of a home and carrying out regular battery checks.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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