There is more to home fire safety than just having a smoke alarm and an escape plan – Fire and Emergency’s goal is to reduce unwanted fires overall.

Research into the effectiveness of Home Fire Safety Visits (HFSV) and our marketing activity shows 94% of Kiwi households claim to have at least one working smoke alarm. However, it also identified areas of the HFSV programme that could be improved to ensure Fire and Emergency is providing the best service possible to communities. This is an opportunity to build on the successes of HFSV and ensure the organisation is in-step with the changing needs of communities to help reduce unwanted fires in Aotearoa New Zealand.

What’s changed and why

Over the last several months, the National Community Readiness and Recovery Directorate has worked with district teams and crews to introduce several new processes and documents.

The aim is to remove pain points within the programme for our people and the households we visit, to gather better data on the current risks we are seeing to inform our work moving forward and to introduce new measurement and targeting methods to show how we are reducing the number, and impact of unwanted fires.

New and updated resources/processes include:

  • An updated in-visit booklet - an engaging and fit-for-purpose tool to deliver fire safety advice and better capture any follow-up actions.
  • An updated household risk assessment sheet - the new form removes unnecessary questions from the household information sheet and captures better data on the risks and behaviours witnessed in the household during the visit.
  • A new HFSV booking/referral process – to help gather necessary information on the household before completing the visit (i.e., dog or steep driveway), best time to visit and topics the resident would like to discuss.
  • A follow-up email to the household - to gauge feedback and help us improve our service.

The improved resources and processes have been developed and tested with our career and volunteer staff, and people who have had a HFSV.

Measuring performance

We are introducing a new national target – 80% of all HFSV are completed within 21 days of the task being entered into SMS. The new national target will help to ensure we are delivering a timely service to our communities.

We’re also changing the data we use for our Statement of Performance Expectations measure (SPE). Currently the SPE is measured using the Safer New Zealand Index data, which only shows risk within urban centres so HFSV completed in rural/isolated high-risk communities are not counted towards the SPE, despite these communities facing risks recognised by Fire and Emergency. Moving forward, performance will be measured using the at-risk-group index data which covers rural/isolated high-risk communities.

Consequently, our SPE target will also increase to 50% HFSV completed in medium/high risk areas (vs the current target of 40%). We are confident that this new target is achievable as we have averaged 59% over the past five years.

To find out more about the improvements to the Home Fire Safety Visits programme, visit the Portal(external link) or reach out to




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