JIS News

Assistant Superintendent at the Fire Prevention Division of the Jamaica Fire Brigade, Floyd McLean, is appealing to householders to make contingency plans to deal with an outbreak of fire.
This is particularly important, as a house can reach a critical point in as little as two and a half minutes, when it becomes too hot for occupancy or laden with smoke. Beyond this critical point, occupants are in danger of death by fire.
Mr. McLean advised that a good fire escape plan should include more than one door, free passages, and properly arranged furniture, so that furnishing do not become an obstruction.
He was speaking with JIS News in an interview on Fire Safety Awareness Week, which is being observed from October 23 to 29 under the theme: ‘Fire Prevention: A Collective Effort’.
The fire fighter also advised that householders should always know where the keys for grill locks were, and pointed out that all the keys for the house should not be bundled onto one key ring. This could cause delays, he explained, when persons have to rummage through a bunch to find three or four keys.
“I’ve seen persons die in fire with one lock on the grill and the key in their hand,” he lamented.Speaking further to the issue of grills, he suggested that a bedroom grill be placed on the inside and secured with padlocks, “so you can take off the lock and swing it open”. This would be very important for those who might have only one door to exit the house.
On the matter of night fire, Mr. McLean said “many people think that the smoke will wake them up, but they are mistaken”, he noted. “We should always remember that carbon monoxide is colourless, odourless, tasteless.once you are sleeping and you start to inhale carbon monoxide, it puts you into a deeper sleep, slowly. so it’s actually killing you while you’re inhaling it,” he pointed out.
He added though, that because of some persons’ sensitivity, they would detect other elements in the gas, which produce a choking effect, thus waking them up. “Other persons are not that lucky,” he observed. Smoke detectors would be particularly useful for such situations.
Giving tips to observe in critical situations, Mr. McLean noted that if a person is still in a building beyond three minutes and the room is filling up with smoke, it is best to crouch low to avoid, as far as possible, smoke inhalation.
When one’s clothes are on fire, he continued, rolling on the ground is the most useful option. Running to find water would only make the problem worse, he warned.
Make your plan and practise it with your family, the fire fighter stressed. “And also make sure that you have appropriate fire extinguishers to put out the fire,” he emphasized.