Housing New Zealand making properties even safer

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12 January 2018

Housing New Zealand has further protected and enhanced the lives of tenants by installing long-life smoke alarms into our properties, and building secure drive way areas around our homes.

"Helping our tenants and their families stay safe is a big part of what we do as the country’s largest landlord. Nationally, we spent $474 million on maintenance and improvements in our 2016/17 financial year," Housing New Zealand’s Chief Operating Officer, Paul Commons, said.

"Over the past few years we’ve rolled out several specific programmes to protect tenants outside and inside their homes. Two really important components of these are our smoke alarm upgrades and a focus on driveway safety. Both involve making sure the latest methods and technologies are employed to provide safe areas around motor vehicle access ways for children and early warnings in case of fires inside houses.

photo-electric smoke alarm"This has seen us install photo-electric smoke alarms in most of our 63,000 properties. Fire and Emergency New Zealand recommend this type of alarm as they provide up to 10 years smoke detection and they remove the frustration of fixing the 'flat battery beep'.

Paul Commons says it has been a successful partnership with Fire and Emergency NZ who fully endorse this programme.

"Fire and Emergency works closely with Housing New Zealand to keep our communities safe," says Peter Gallagher, National Advisor Fire Risk Management, Fire and Emergency New Zealand. "Housing New Zealand is a responsible landlord that works hard to keep their tenants safe from fire through the use of some innovative technology."

Mr Commons says the Driveway Safety programme that began in 2013, aims to reduce the risk of children being run over in the driveways of state homes, by installing fencing, self-closing gates with child-resistant latches, speed restriction signs, speed humps and convex mirrors where appropriate.

The programme focuses on separating play areas from driveways and ensuring play areas are directly visible and accessible from main living areas.

This programme and its values have been warmly supported and commended by Safekids Aotearoa.

Director of Safekids Aotearoa, Melissa Wilson, also encouraged all homeowners and tenants to be extra careful around their driveways this summer.

"Most driveway run overs occur during summer months when families are busy, out of routine and spending time outdoors," she said.

"On average, around five children in New Zealand die from driveway run overs every year and sadly, it is often a family member who is behind the wheel. Toddlers who are out exploring are particularly at risk."

"It’s critical you know where your children are and that they are supervised before you get into your car. Take a walk around your car and make sure there are no children playing behind or near your car. Think ahead and take steps to keep your kids’ play areas separate from your driveway. Always remember to check for kids before you turn the key."

Mr Commons says Housing New Zealand takes the health and safety of its tenants and their families seriously and these improvements again demonstrated that philosophy.

For more information:

Our tenants — fire safety

Our driveway safety programme — protecting our tenants and their children

Safekids Aotearoa website

Fire and emergency website

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