|A blaze in a Timaru rest home early this morning came
to nothing thanks to a sprinkler system and the superb
actions of staff.
The Fire Service says the fire, which started in
a commercial drier in the laundry, could have led
to tragedy had the rest home not had a sprinkler system,
or such well-trained staff.
Fire safety officer Kevin Collins says the staff
did everything right, from isolating the fire, to
evacuating the 40 residents. The sprinkler system
put the blaze out before it could spread beyond the
laundry, leaving firefighters to control residual
flames within the drier bowl itself.
The fire was noticed by a staff member at 3.48 am.
She immediately shut the laundry door, confining the
fire to that room. She activated the nearest manual
fire alarm which alerted the Fire Service communications
centre. At the same time, the bells rang within the
rest home. The woman advised the two other staff members
on duty, made a 111 call to confirm the fire type
and location. Then the three staff members evacuated
Two fire crews from Timaru arrived in under five
minutes, and while one dealt with what remained of
the fire, the other helped with the evacuation. Thanks
to the sprinkler system, the fire resulted in just
minor damage to the laundry.
“The Fire Service strongly recommends sprinkler
systems complying with NZ Standard 4541 are installed
in rest homes.”
He says the Fire Service has worked closely with
the rest home staff for some time on fire safety training
and procedures, with regular trial evacuations.