It really is tragic when families die in their own homes, perhaps, needlessly. I am referring to the couple and two sons who died in a fire in their home in USJ 2, which is the section opposite where I live. It was too close to home.
If the home had been fitted with grills with an escape window, I wonder if such a tragedy could have been avoided? It is good that the media is carrying a good number of stories on fire-prevention at home and what to do in case one breaks out.
I think it must be standard practice to have a fire extinguisher in every home and to install smoke detectors, especially those with an alarm. I also think it is very important to have window and door grills that can be easily opened.
Most of us have grills with one panel that is a window with a latch. Usually we padlock the window and leave the key in an easily accessible place. If you use the air-con everyday, it is easier because you shut the windows and then there’s no need to lock the grill window. In case of fire, just open your window and the grill window and jump out.
The problem occurs when the grill is locked or if the grill doesn’t have a window to escape through. Surely, we can design a grill that can be easily opened in case we are trapped in a room?
When I changed my windows, I asked my contractor if he could find a grill for the window which doesn’t require a padlock and all he could say was, “Don’t have, don’t have!” I had suggested a three panel sliding grill with a latch on one end. (And, I was willing to pay for it!) The grill could be fitted in such a way that the latch is on the side of the window I don’t open. So, it would be hard for people to get to the grill latch but easy for me to get out. But, my contractor was totally closed about exploring the idea of a safe, padlock-less grill!
We fix grills to protect ourselves from intruders. An easy -to-open grill and an alarm system would solve that problem. Although the grill is a hazard in case of a fire.
Necessity is the mother of inventions, but, in this case, it surprises me that no one has designed a safe grill to install! I hope someone will come up with an affordable grill system that won’t trap people in — in case of a fire — but offers a quick escape route.
A suggestion that the fire safety experts gave which, I think, is very essential is the smoke detector system with alarm. Sometimes, when in deep slumber, we are not aware and, in case of fire, we don’t wake up to escape. A smoke detector alarm system would definitely solve that problem.
We really need to give priority to making our homes safe. Having written this, I am going to invest in a fire extinguisher and a smoke detector alarm system!