24 May

Smoke alarms saved my son

Published: 2016-05-24
Smoke alarm

Peter Batten credits the working smoke alarms in his Housing New Zealand house with saving the life of his teenage son.

The Christchurch tenant says he has always been safety conscious and regularly checks the smoke alarm batteries are working. 

A few months ago, his 18-year-old son came home from work one Saturday morning and decided to cook some chips. 

He left the deep fryer on the stove-top and went into the lounge to watch television.

He soon fell asleep but was woken when the smoke alarms went off. 

The kitchen had filled up with smoke. 

His son lifted the deep fryer and tried to open a door to take it outside when a gust of wind spilled the deep fryer’s contents onto one of his arms, and onto the floor. 

There was moderate smoke damage to the house and his son required medical attention to his burnt arm, but Peter says there could have easily been a more tragic outcome.

His son needed daily dressings on his arms for about 10 days but the burn has since healed. 

“He was rather lucky. Having smoke alarms saved his life,’’ Peter says.

He applauded Housing New Zealand’s policy to fit smoke alarms in all of its properties.

“That is such a brilliant idea. I would have smoke alarms in my house regardless but it’s so good that you have them in all your houses.’’

Peter says he tests his smoke alarms regularly throughout the year. 

If any of the batteries fail, he immediately replaces them.

“It’s so easy. And I like to think that helped save my boy’s life.’’