New claims data from IAG, the parent company to AMI Insurance, has revealed more than a quarter (26 per cent) of household fires started in the kitchen in the last year*.
AMI insurance is warning families to take particular care over the colder months, as the majority of residential house fires occur during winter.
Ruth Colenso, AMI’s General Manager Customer Claims, said it was important households were reminded where blazes most commonly started and how easily and quickly they could spread.
“Kitchen fires have the potential to spread quickly, often jumping to curtains or cupboards in a matter of seconds and commonly start from people leaving their cooking unattended”.
Yet it wasn’t just kitchen appliances that caused fires, with air-conditioners, clothes dryers and televisions together accounting for more than a third of house fires caused by electrical goods over the last five years*.
In the wake of a serious house fire in Runanga caused by a faulty washing machine, AMI also found that faulty appliances were responsible for more than 10 per cent of claims for residential blazes in the last year.
“When it comes to electrical appliances, people need to make sure they are in good working order, properly installed and the cords are regularly checked for fraying and damage which could cause a spark,” Ms Colenso said.
“It’s also important to clean electrical devices frequently including air conditioners, toasters and the filter on clothes dryers to help prevent fuelling a fire.
“To help reduce the risk of electrical fires, be careful not to overload double adapters, power boards and be sure to only use quality electrical equipment.”
To help prevent and prepare for a home fire, AMI recommends households:
- stay in the kitchen while cooking on the stove;
- call 111 immediately if a fire does break out that cannot be safely and quickly controlled;
- install a smoke alarm(s) and test monthly. If you have battery-operated alarms, change the batteries at least once a year;
- have an evacuation plan and make sure everyone in the house knows and practises it;
- keep a fire extinguisher and fire blanket at hand near the kitchen;
- never use water to put out a cooking oil fire – water will only ignite the oil; and
- don’t key-lock deadlocks on doors when at home in case you need to leave in a hurry.
To check for product safety recalls affecting all types of appliances in New Zealand issued back to 2014, visit the Consumer website:
* IAG home claims data 2010-2014