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A campaign for fire extinguishers

Published:Wednesday | January 6, 2010 | 1:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

This refers to Timothy Cawley's letter which appeared in The Gleaner of Monday, January 10. I take the opportunity to endorse Cawley's call for the provision of portable fire extinguishers in the home, in order to afford occupants the opportunity to quell the outbreak of fires in their infancy. The cost of such suitable and appropriate protection is presently in the region of $5,500 plus GCT, at whatever the going rate may be. This is a one-off cost, as today's fire extinguishers do not require annual recharging. This service is necessary only after the appliance has been operated/discharged, hopefully successfully.

To further Mr Cawley's observations, I must note that a portable fire extinguisher may be needed, not only to suppress a fire, but also as a life-safety device, enabling persons to extricate themselves and their families from a burning building, as the route of egress may well be obstructed by the fire itself. There is also the possibility that the fire may present a barrier between rooms, inhibiting the ability to rescue family members. A portable fire extinguisher would clear the way.

Fire brigade limited

Yes, the Jamaica Fire Brigade is to be commended, in the vast majority of instances, for it's yeoman efforts to 'save lives and preserve property'. The brigade, however, may only operate within the confines of the equipment, facilities and training made available to them. No matter how sophisticated this service may wishfully become, at no time will it be standing by to offer immediate assistance when someone's drapery catches fire ... that is the job for the portable fire extinguisher, which should be brought to bear in the first few moments of an outbreak of fire. As quickly as the municipal fire service is able to respond to an alarm, you will, more than likely, due to the unavoidable time lapse, experience a major conflagration.

Your home is your castle, why would you not want to protect it? No matter how much insurance coverage you have purchased, it will never be able to replace those precious and prized personal affects and memorabilia accumulated over the years, never mind the physical well-being or life of a loved one. Simple, economical measures may ensure the safety of your family and home. These include items such as self-contained smoke alarms (early warning is essential to the preservation of life and fire suppression), flashlights/lanterns (an emergency in the dark is further cause for panic and hysteria) and a suitable first aid kit (many a life has been spared with the immediate application of first aid).

I am, etc.,

Julian Templer

jtempler@nationalsafety.com.jm