Assessment of the benefits of Fire Extinguishers as fire safety precautions in New Zealand Buildings
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
There were over 25,488 fire incidents recorded in New Zealand in 2007/08, according to the New Zealand Fire Service (NZFS) 2006/07 Annual Report. These fires resulted in 34 fatalities and many more serious injuries and accounted for thousands of callouts attended by the NZFS. The NZFS also recorded 8734 incidents of use of fire extinguishers and hose reels/garden hoses where fire incidents were contained by occupants / passer bys. Current New Zealand regulations are not definitive of requirements therefore the provision of fire extinguishers and hose reels is debated. Current legislation provides guidance to specific conditions for the installation of fire extinguishers and hose reels. A survey done in UK and some European countries in 2000 by EUROFEU identified that in 80% of the cases a portable fire extinguisher successfully extinguished the fire and in 75% of those cases the Fire Service was not required to attend. These incidents were therefore not recorded in any official statistics. According to the survey it was estimated that fire extinguisher usage actually could save ₤1.5 million each year in terms of Fire Service resources. This report uses historical data available from 1990 – 2007 from the NZFS FIRS database and usage statistics generated from conducting a survey of service agencies for fire extinguishers in New Zealand. This report also evaluates prescriptive requirements existing in New Zealand and compares with prescriptive requirements outside of New Zealand. The current statistics using the NZFS‐FIRS data shows that there is a downward trend in the use of extinguishers; however these statistics may not reflect the true usage patterns of extinguishers. Data collected from a survey of Page iii
service agencies shows that the majority of extinguisher usage does not get reported for official statistics. State reason The further cost benefit analysis has been done for typical occupancies where the use of extinguishers is expected because of the occupancy and competence level of occupants. Risk simulations for different scenarios of fire protection system use and success was used to determine cost of a fire in terms of direct property losses, Fire Service costs and other indirect economic losses. Direct property losses have a direct consequence to the building owner while other costs reflect more to the New Zealand economy and Fire Service and may have an indirect bearing to the building owner.