Kiwis can find out what it's really like to be stuck inside a burning home, thanks to a world-first virtual reality experience launched by the New Zealand Fire Service.
Escape My House uses 360 degree cameras and virtual reality tools to illustrate a real house fire first-hand, showing people why they need to come up with an escape plan for their own homes.
“Until you experience a fire, you’ve got no idea what it’s like. The Escape My House VR activity allows members of the public to see and hear what a house fire is truly like for themselves," New Zealand Fire Service Station Officer and current Training Officer, Chris Kennedy, says.
"We don’t want to scare people but it’s an activity to teach others how to get out safely and quickly."
The immersive experience features video footage from a real house burnt down by the New Zealand Fire Service. The fire was started by a clothes horse left too close to a heater, which is one of the most common ways house fires are started.
Kennedy says the Fire Service thinks people will be surprised by how quickly a fire can spread, and they want people to think about what might happen if they don't have an escape plan in place with their whole family.
Recent research shows that 61 per cent of Kiwis claim to have an escape plan; however, only 29 per cent have a detailed plan with multiple exits, as most people think it will be easy enough to get out the front door.
“We’ve had terrible situations when people will get out of their house fire but can’t find the rest of their family or flatmates, so they run back in to help them and unfortunately don’t make it back out. When, all along, the others had escaped but gone to a different location.
"It’s an awful tragedy that can be avoided if people have an escape plan and agreed safe meeting place," Kennedy added.
WATCH: Outside the burning house. Story continues after video...
New Zealand Fire Service’s Escape My House Safety Tips:
- Make sure everyone in the household knows the safe meeting place so you know if everyone has safely escaped
- Have an escape plan to get everyone quickly to the safe meeting place
- Your escape plan must start with having working smoke alarms to alert you to a fire
- Have more than one exit from every room. Be aware of what obstacles are in your way that could block your escape path
- In the event of a fire leave your possessions behind, just get out fast! Close doors to prevent the spread of fire
- Get down, get low, get out and stay out.