Fire and Emergency New Zealand needed a cost-effective way to motivate New Zealand households to make detailed escape plans at a scale not possible with existing approaches.
Their survey data showed that over two thirds of New Zealand homes weren’t prepared with a detailed escape plan. Most people only had a plan consisting of “I’ll just run out the front door, sweet as, no worries”.
They hadn’t stopped to consider what they would do if their first exit was blocked, let alone how other household members would get out, or where they’d meet them.
In the worst cases, lack of planning meant people had re-entered a fire and died trying to find someone who had already escaped to a different part of the property.
Conventional fire safety campaigns tended to preach safety messages at an unreceptive audience.
Research with frontline firefighters and members of the public led to two key insights:
• People underestimate the speed of fire, and do not stop to think through things that could prevent their escape.
• Deciding on a safe meeting place is an easy first step towards making a detailed plan.
This led them to challenge the convention of preaching, and ask instead what would happen if they involve people in discovering for themselves what really happens inside a house fire and get them started on the plan by deciding on a safe meeting place?
Existing programmes were expensive to operate and only targeted specific segments of the community.
‘Escape My House’ is the interactive VR experience that puts thousands of people inside a real house fire, then seamlessly guides them through the process of making a detailed escape plan.
Within six months since launching, the campaign has encouraged 12,000 households to make detailed escape plans at 37% of the cost of existing approaches.