Whilst many people are concerned for their home Safety and aim to keep intruders out, the sinister side of this is people lock themselves in without a thought of what to do if they need to exit their home in an emergency.

SATS technicians attend many properties where the occupants take several minutes to allow them access due to having to find the keys to unlock the door internally.

Let’s put this into perspective… Its 2am and the Smoke Alarm has woken you. A fire has broken out within the home and you need to escape. The front door is deadlocked, and your keys are at the other end of the house. Between you and those keys is a fire. You cannot exit through the front door as you cannot unlock it…..

It’s a scary thought as to what could happen next.

When a house is filled with smoke, people often won’t behave in a rational manner. Smoke can overcome and kill people in four minutes, and you are three times more likely to be killed by a night-time fire than a daytime one. The most likely reaction of anyone woken from sleep by a Smoke Alarm is to panic and make straight for the nearest exit. People in such circumstances should not be expected to pause to find the front door key that has been hidden in a drawer, or hung up somewhere away from the door, get it into the lock and turn it.

Simply, People do die in fires because they have deadlocked themselves in and removed the key from the lock.

 Safety Switch vs Circuit Breaker

Both Safety Switches and Circuit Breakers promote safety and prevent damage to you and your property, but they are not the same thing. Unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions about these two electrical safety devices that have been causing a lot of confusion in the mind of people.

It’s important to know the differences between Safety Switches and Circuit Breakers because these are the vital electrical components that keep your family safe.

Let’s look a little closer at these two devices:

Safety Switch

Visually, a Safety Switch has a “test” button.

Safety Switches monitor the flow of electricity through a circuit and turn off the power in a fraction of a second if a leakage of current is detected. Safety Switches are specifically designed to protect human beings from death or serious injury from electrical shocks. Safety Switches are an additional form of protection to be used with Circuit Breakers.

Circuit Breaker

Visually similar, there is no “test” button on a Circuit Breaker

Circuit Breakers both serve to protect an overloaded electrical circuit by interrupting the continuity, or the flow of electricity. Most houses are equipped with Circuit Breakers in the main switchboard to protect the wiring from overloads. Circuit Breakers provide short-circuit and over-current protection such as when a power point is overloaded, but it does not protect an individual from electrocution.



  1. Working smoke alarms
    Ensure your home has smoke alarms that are correctly positioned, operational, regularly tested and compliant. Early warning systems can save lives and your home should a fire break out.
  2. Keep your stove and oven areas clear
    Never leave anything flammable near hot surfaces in the kitchen, especially your stove and oven spaces. Keep tea towels, cleaning cloths, placemats, curtains and cookbooks all well away from this zone. Try to avoid resting anything on hotplates even when they are turned off.
  3. Check electrical cords
    Frayed and broken charging and electrical cords can easily become a hazard as they heat up. Ensure you replace or remove immediately. Try to avoid charging phones and devices on material surfaces – again the charging packs and cords can heat up and pose a fire risk.
  4. Keep fire extinguishers and blankets handy
    Ensure you keep an in-date fire extinguisher and a fire blanket in handy places such as the kitchen. Make sure everyone in your home knows where they are located and remove any obstructions that make them hard to reach in an emergency.
  5. Store flammable products safely
    Store your household cleaners and beauty products away from heat to avoid combustion. Cool, dark cupboards with constant temperatures are ideal. This also applies to products stored in your garage and shed. Metal spaces heat up far quicker and can pose a real risk if not managed with care.
  6. Be cautious with flames
    When using candles, diffusers, fireplaces, BBQs and fire-pits make sure you keep an eye on them at all times. It is also a good idea to keep any flammable items well away from these areas and extinguish before going to bed or leaving the room/area.

Celebrate Easter in style with some homemade goodies that are all about chocolate and Easter.


A kind postie comforted a young mother and her children while firefighters put out a kitchen fire in their Hāwera home on Wednesday.

Ellen Te Waaka said she was attending to her three-month-old baby when the smoke alarm in her lounge went off just after midday.

A pot of oil on the stove that she was heating to cook chips for her three-year-old daughter Emmalee’s lunch had ignited.

“It was all black from the smoke and there was orange flames. I just picked up my baby and my little girl and ran out,” she said.

Once outside, Te Waaka realised she had no way of calling the fire brigade.

“I laid my baby down on the grass and ran back in to get my phone.”

The distressed family waited outside the house for the fire brigade.

“I was screaming for help but no one came,” she said. “Then the postie came along and saw me crying on the footpath, she asked if I was ok. I said, no, my house is on fire, and she grabbed Emma for me.”

The postie stayed with Te Waaka, cuddling little Emmalee, until well after the two fire trucks and crews from the Hāwera Volunteer Fire Brigade had arrived.

“She said she had came back because she had forgotten to post some mail. I don’t know her name, she’s the awesome postie lady,” Te Waaka said said.

The fire was quickly put out by firefighters with a dry powder extinguisher.

“They are very, very lucky people,” chief fire officer Mike Fairweather said.

“The smoke alarm activated early, that helped them get out of the house, it saved the house from becoming fully involved.”

Once firefighters had ventilated the house to remove the smoke, and checked for hot spots, the family was allowed back in.

Property manager Stanella Nui of First National Real Estate said the rented house had an extra smoke alarm installed in the lounge, as well as the ones required by law near the bedrooms, and this had activated, alerting the tenant to the fire very soon after it ignited.

In just two minutes, a fire can become lift-threatening. In five minutes, a residence can be engulfed in flames. Scary isn’t it! This doesn’t give you much time to think about how to get yourself or family member to safety. Taking the time to an escape plan in place with your family, friends or boarders could potentially save a life.

An Escape Plan will ensure you know the best escape locations around your home with an active course of action should you become trapped by fire. When designing an escape plan, everyone in the home should be included. Make sure everyone knows the plan of escape as well as where to meet should you become separated during a fire emergency.

You should consider escape locations, meeting places and the best times to call for help. This plan can also be used for other emergency situations. If you have children, helping them know what to do can assist in managing panic and fear should the worst ever happen.

How do you make a fire plan? Here are a few elements to consider when making a plan:

  • Draw a floor plan so you can review ways to escape from each room
  • Keep door and window keys easily accessible
  • Try to keep all exits clear
  • Decide on a meeting point that is a safe distance from the house (letterbox, clothesline, at a neighbours home, a nearby street sign)
  • Remind everyone that when you get out – you stay out. Never return into a burning building
  • Practice! It is essential that everyone in the household knows what to do in the event of a Fire.
And remember to get down low, as smoke can cause damage to the lungs and death. If your clothes catch on fire, STOP, DROP and ROLL.

If your curious about what your child/children would do if faced with a house fire, put them to the test! Do you think you’ll like the outcome?

It’s important for children to learn about the dangers of fire, in all circumstances. There are many different ways to bring this to a child’s attention. Information is power, if we can teach children what to do in these situations, they will be able to protect themselves if you are separated.

Here are some essential points:

  1. First things first, Teach them your escape plan. Children can be overwhelmed with fear, a step by step plan of what to do is key for a child’s survival when faced with uncommon happenings.
  2. Practice makes perfect, it’s not enough to talk about it once. Children’s brains are contently growing with new information. Ideally hanging up your escape plan and practising the plan at least twice a year.
  3. When there’s no way out. In the instance of getting trapped by fire, the most important thing to remember is to close the door. Put bedding or cloth under the door to block off any smoke that will seep through.
  4. Wait for help, Firefighters have breathing mask that can look intimidating to children. Make sure that they know what the firefighter gear looks like, so they don’t get scared and hide.
  5. Stop, drop and roll. A key point to save your life, when caught on fire. Most kids first instincts will be to run away which will only make it worse.
  6. Once out stay out – Call 111 – stay safe. Your life can’t be replaced.

Today we are excited to announce the launch of our NEW and, we hope you’ll agree, improved Agency Portal!
After several months of development, we are delighted to finally be able to present to you our new Agency Portal.

It’s extremely user-friendly and is accessible to all audiences. It also has a sleek modern design to reflect our growing cutting-edge business.

We completed the Portal from start to finish in-house. Utilising the expertise of our many teams, but primarily our creative department—made up of our designers, developers and marketing department. Everything from the conceptual ideas to the fully functioning Portal, and the vast detail, was all aimed at helping YOU, our clients.

Take a tour of the Portal where you will be pleasantly surprised by our new features such as:

  • Track current compliance
  • New reporting options
  • View progress of jobs live
  • Individual Property Managers with own user Login & Master Login
  • Individual User Profile pages with Photos and contact details

We hope you like the changes!

Don’t forget to bookmark our Portal & connect with us on social media (Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin) to stay up to date on our news.

The SATS team


A woman was left clutching her pet rabbit on the footpath after the pair made a narrow escape from a house fire caused by a candle in Dunedin yesterday morning.
A fire investigator said the near-miss should serve as a warning to landlords, property managers and tenants that smoke alarms are compulsory in rentals.

A fire investigator said the near-miss should serve as a warning to landlords, property managers and tenants that smoke alarms are compulsory in rentals.

Three fire appliances were deployed to battle the blaze in the upstairs Stafford St flat about 8.45am yesterday.

A young woman, believed to be the sole occupant of the flat at the time, managed to escape with her pet rabbit. She was taken to hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation.

There appeared to be some structural damage to the unit but the fire was extinguished before it could spread to consume the property, which contained several flats.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand fire risk management officer Mark Bredenbeck said the fire was believed to have been caused by a candle left burning on a corner table in the lounge, and there were no working smoke alarms in the house.

”She was alerted to the fire because her cellphone alarm woke her … She got up to find the house full of smoke, and she’s done a runner.”

He urged tenants to take action if their landlords had not fitted smoke alarms, now mandatory in rental properties.

”And if the landlords aren’t going to do anything, then contact us, and we can take it further.”

However, once the smoke alarm was in place, it was the tenant’s responsibility to insure it was still working, Mr Bredenbeck said.

The Porirua landlords of the property, managed by an external agency, did not respond to a request for comment yesterday.

It is true! All smoke alarms must have an expiry date to meet New Zealand standards. Depending on make and model this is sometimes noted as a manufacture date, and expiry date or a manufacture code.

NB. Smoke alarms must be replaced once they exceed their service life. Failure to do so may result in an alarm not working in a fire situation or an insurance claim being declined.