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In the event of a fire 

What to do in a fire

If the worst should happen, and there is a fire in your house, at the first sign of fire:

  • If there are others in the house, shout ‘FIRE, FIRE, FIRE!’
  • 'Get Down, Get Low, Get out - Fast.'
  • Get on your hands and knees and crawl low and fast to escape smoke. Heat and smoke rise so it is easier to breathe and to see at ground level.
  • If you can, close doors behind you to stop the fire spreading.
  • Always keep your keys in the door deadlocks when you are at home. People have died in fires because their doors have been deadlocked with the keys kept elsewhere and they couldn’d get out.
  • Call 111 immediately either from a mobile phone or a neighbour’s house.
  • Once out, stay out - never go back inside.
  • Meet at the planned meeting place - somewhere safely away from the house.
  • If you can’t get out of the house, close the door of the room you are in and put a towel under it to stop the smoke coming in. Go to the window and yell ‘FIRE, FIRE, FIRE!’ Wait to be rescued.

What you need to tell the Fire Service

When you call 111 you will need to give our staff the following information to help us find the fire:

  • house number
  • street name
  • nearest intersection
  • suburb and city
  • Rural Address Property Identification (RAPID)number if you have one.

Emergency Caller Location Information

When you dial 111 from a mobile phone, data that helps determine the location of your handset may be sent to the New Zealand Fire Service via a system overseen by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.  This data is provided by your mobile network operator (for all handset types) or by your handset (if you have an Android handset).


Authorised Emergency Service Providers (currently New Zealand Police, New Zealand Fire Service, St John and Wellington Free Ambulance) are allowed to use this location information to help them verify where you are calling from, so they can respond to the emergency as quickly as possible.

The provision of this information is authorised by the Privacy Commissioner, via an amendment to the Telecommunications Information Privacy Code 2003 (TIPC).  More information regarding the system is available on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website.


If the Fire Service receives emergency caller location information about you, it will only use that to facilitate a response to your emergency call or to maintain a record of the information used to establish your location.  The emergency caller location information will be retained as part of the incident record for your call and then disposed of in accordance with the Fire Service’s normal information retention and disposal processes for that kind of record.


You have the right to ask the Fire Service to confirm whether it holds emergency caller location information about you, to access any such information, and to have it corrected if you think it is wrong.  See Rule 6 of the TIPC for a more detailed explanation of these rights.


If you are concerned about the way in which your emergency caller location information has been gathered or used, you can complain to the Fire Service in accordance with Schedule 1 of the TIPC.  Complaints should be addressed to our Privacy Officer and either lodged through our online complaints form or sent by post to PO Box 2133, Wellington.


Alternatively, you may complain directly to the Privacy Commissioner if you consider there has been an interference with your privacy.  Information about how to make a complaint to the Privacy Commissioner is available at 0800 803 909 or

What to do after a fire

Nothing can really prepare you for the impact of a fire or other emergency on your family and property. Even a small fire or flood can make you feel helpless and unsure of what to do next. This is entirely understandable. We regularly see home owners faced with the same distressing situation.

At the scene

Here are some important things you need to do now that the unimaginable has happened.
Do not enter your damaged house unless you have to and have been told that it is safe to do so.


We will check the water, electricity and gas supplies and either arrange to have them disconnected or advise you what action to take.

If you can't enter your home you'll need to arrange accommodation. You may need to stay with family, friends, or in a motel for at least 1 night You may need to stay longer if your house has been seriously damaged.


When your house is safe and you are allowed back:

  • Try to find your
    • identification
    • insurance information
    • medication information
    • eye glasses
    • hearing aid, and
    • wallet and valuables.
  • If the house is too badly damaged to live in board up openings to discourage trespassers
  • You may need to arrange security patrols to protect your house from burglary
  • Keep receipts for expenses resulting from the fire such as accommodation or clothes
  • Get supplies of medicine or eye glasses.

Your reaction is normal

It is normal to feel unsettled and disrupted for a while. You may well be able to overcome any problems yourself but don't be afraid to ask for help.

After a crisis it is often easier to talk to someone who is not involved and who is trained to listen and to help you find the services you need.

Victim Support provides a free, flexible, and confidential service. You can phone them on 0800 VICTIM (0800 842 846).


The devastation after a fire
The devastation after a fire