LEE McCallion, of LMC Fire Safety in Letterkenny, will always remember the day himself and his wife Claire couldn’t think what to give their neighbour, Joe, when he moved away from the neighbourhood to his new home on the outskirts of Letterkenny.
“Why don’t we give Joe one of those new fire safety kits we just got in”, Lee said.
Well, little did they know back then just how important that decision was, because a few weeks later Joe’s kitchen caught fire and thanks to the new LMC Fire Safety Kit, the fire was safely extinguished and Joe’s new kitchen was saved.
“There’s a lesson in Joe’s story for everyone” says Lee, outlining some of the critical lessons he has learned in his fifteen years working in the Fire Safety business.
“Look,” he says, “there’s three golden rules we all need to follow to make sure that you and your family are safe from fire – Prevention, Detection and Evacuation”
“The best way to stay safe from fire is to make sure that the fire never happens because prevention is always better than cure.
“However, if a fire does break out, detection is crucial and a simple fire alarm that works will give you time to quickly suppress the fire if you have the right equipment in the right place at the right time.”
Lee emphasises the importance of getting everyone out of the house – “Get out and stay out!” he says unapologetically.
EVERY FIRE HAS A CAUSE
Every fire has a cause and most often, there’s a common sense, simple method of prevention.
Careless attention to or use of cigarettes, lighters and matches, smoking, electricity, fireplaces, heaters, candles, and cooking equipment are leading causes of fire-death and injury.
The best way to prevent a fire is to keep fuel sources away from potential heat sources.
The national fire safety guidelines suggest householders have a look around the home to spot any possible, unwanted incidences of fuel meeting heat.
They advise that you don’t allow rubbish to build up in your living room or anywhere else inside your home and paints, thinners, chemicals and so on should be stored carefully outside the home.
It can take as little as three minutes for irretrievable damage to be caused by smoke inhalation.
Many fires happen at night while people are asleep.
Smoke from a fire can put sleeping people into a deeper sleep and the smoke may not waken them.
By installing smoke alarms, you will have early warning of a fire, which gives you time to act before you and your family are overcome by dangerous smoke and fumes.
In a standard two-storey house, four detectors should be installed – smoke detectors on each landing and in the living room and a heat detector in the kitchen. You need to make sure that all smoke/heat alarms are properly installed and maintained.
Always test the alarms every week and the batteries every year.
WHAT TO DO IN THE EVENT OF A FIRE
When fire breaks out, it can spread quickly so the family needs to act quickly.
The guidelines advise that preparation can save valuable seconds and so a rehearsed fire escape drill can make all the difference.
Make sure everyone in the home understands what to do when the smoke alarm sounds –close all doors behind you as you leave; the stairs are your primary escape route so keep them clear; if your clothes catch fire, stop, drop and roll as this helps extinguish the flames.
Do not re-enter the house for any reason, just get out and stay out and phone the fire brigade from outside.
If you are prevented from leaving by smoke, heat or fire, seal off the spaces in the door openings with sheets or clothing or a sheet to stop smoke from entering and always keep down on the floor where the air is cleaner and cooler.
Go to the window, open it and call for help. The window may be the quickest and safest way for the fire brigade to rescue you.
It is important to remember that the fire safety legislation in Ireland places a duty of care on every person who has control over a premises to make adequate provision for the safety of everyone on their premises and to provide adequate fire-fighting equipment for extinguishing fires in the building.
To give a gift to keep your family safe this
LMC Fire Safety
074 91 03150 or 087 943 7379