Protecting NZ’s marae cultural sites from fire

Marae image_lower resBy Dave Hipkins, National Technical and Product Manager, Wormald New Zealand

Maraes are sacred historical places that often contain carvings and artefacts that would be irreplaceable in the event of a fire.  As most maraes are constructed from timber and many are located in remote locations, they are particularly vulnerable to fire.

Protecting maraes from the risk of fire requires both careful planning and technical knowledge.  Consideration must also be given to a marae’s heritage buildings which in some cases can be over 100 years old.  Inadequate or improper fire protection can also expose the marae’s community to danger, lead to potential injury or, in a worst case scenario, loss of life. Continue reading

Reminder to business managers: fire doesn’t take a holiday

By John Lynch, general manager of Wormald’s Business Support Services

Wormald - fire safetyIf you’re a business owner or property manager, I’m sure preparations are well underway for the festive season. As you get ready to head off for a well-earned Christmas break, it’s important to remember that fire doesn’t take a holiday. In fact, the risk of fire is just as high when your premises are vacant, if not higher.

According to Wormald’s recent Business Fire Safety Report, electrical hazards and machinery are responsible for 55 per cent of business fires; both electrical and machinery fires commonly occur when a premises is vacant.

The same study also found that many business managers across Australia and New Zealand may be underestimating the impact of fire. Only 50 per cent of survey respondents are concerned about damage to property, 31 per cent worried about loss of data or equipment and 16 per cent concerned about downtime.

Fire can have disastrous consequences and the damage can be irreparable for some small businesses. Estimates from The UK Chief Fire Officers Association show that 60 per cent of private businesses never recover from fire and the average cost of a commercial fire is £147,500, which equates to just over $250,000[1].

To minimise the threat of fire and its costly consequences, set aside some time to undertake a risk assessment of your premises before the business shuts down for the holiday period. This can help identify potential hazards and enable you to take necessary precautions. Continue reading

ANZ business managers are underestimating the impact of fire

By Mark Gowans, Managing Director, Wormald Australia

22-05-2013 9-58-04 AMIf you’re a business owner or manager your building should have adequate safety equipment in place. Fire protection is an essential element of building safety but how much thought do you give to the effect a fire can have on your business?

Wormald recently surveyed 445 business managers from Australia and New Zealand about their thoughts on fire protection. It is no surprise to see that in the event of a fire almost all of the respondents are most concerned about loss of life. It is surprising however that many businesses are actually underestimating the impact a fire can have on operations.

Only 50 per cent of the ANZ businesses surveyed show concern for damage to property, 31 per cent are concerned about loss of data or equipment and just 16 per cent are concerned about downtime while repairs and rebuilding take place. Continue reading

Spreading the fire safety message this Christmas

By Mark Gowans, managing director, Wormald Australia

Christmas is fast approaching and I’m sure your planning is well underway for the holiday season, whether it’s finalising work projects or buying last minute gifts.Christmas_Wormald fire safety

While we get into the Christmas spirit, it’s important to highlight that this time of year is one of Australia’s peak fire seasons. With plenty of distractions over the holidays, it’s easy to leave a barbecue burner running or forget to turn the Christmas tree lights off before going out. Have you taken time to consider what you need to do to stay fire safe?

Wormald has partnered with the Fire Foundation ( to remind householders of the importance of staying fire safe over the Christmas season. For those who are not aware, the Fire Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation which provides support to fire and burns victims around Australia. Wormald supports the work of the Fire Foundation and shares one of its main objectives – to educate the Australian public on fire safety and fire prevention.

The Christmas fire safety message is important for both home and business owners. Businesses will decorate their premises with colourful light displays and Christmas trees. With many premises left unattended over the break, it’s essential that extra fire safety measures are taken.

If you’re a business owner or manager, now is a good time to undertake a ‘risk assessment’ of your premises. This will help identify potential fire hazards and enable you to take the necessary precautions. Consider the following fire safety checklist before you close for the Christmas break:

  • Take some time to research and select fire protection products that carry the correct certification, approvals and/or ratings
  • Install an effective alarm and evacuation system
  • Ensure all fire protection equipment is positioned correctly
  • Keep fire sprinkler heads free from obstruction
  • Do not store combustible material such as cardboard boxes and paper near sources of heat or ignition
  • Ensure flammable liquids and materials are stored safely
  • Check that electrical appliances, equipment and machinery are in good condition and free from obvious defects/exposed wiring
  • Do not overload electrical circuits and extension cords
  • Ensure machinery and appliances are switched off when not in use
  • Organise appropriate fire safety and evacuation training for staff and ensure evacuation procedures and fire escape plans are shared with staff
  • Exit doors should be unlocked, clearly marked and free from obstruction
  • Exit signs must be illuminated and emergency lights operating
  • Regularly check your premises to make sure it’s safe and secure.

I hope you have a safe and enjoyable Christmas break and wish you all the best for 2013.