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Smoke detectors are vital.

BAHRAIN has been urged to launch a nationwide campaign to promote smoke detectors in a bid to prevent a repeat of a deadly fire that killed 13 Bangladeshis.

According to an assessment by former Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service fireman Kieran Nelson, the life-saving devices are under-utilised in many homes and offices.

The expert, who has 18 years' experience, believes smoke detectors could have saved the lives of some of the tenants killed in the January 11 blaze in Mukharqa.

Ten people, including a fireman, were injured in the blaze, which caused the roof of the three-storey building to collapse.

Many tenants were forced to jump onto the roof of a neighbouring building or rip out air conditioning units in their rooms to escape.

"I strongly feel that if smoke detectors were installed in the building, lives would have been saved," said Mr Nelson, who now lives in Bahrain.

"If there were smoke detectors in this building, the landlord would not have been facing manslaughter charges."

Mr Nelson said he has been working on a project to promote smoke detectors in Bahrain and wants help from the authorities.

"It is the simplest way to save lives and it is important for Civil Defence officials to extensively promote usage of smoke detectors in homes," he said.

"In the United Kingdom, firemen go to malls and other public places, where they distribute smoke detectors free of cost.

"The Civil Defence team should be out there and not at the fire station to spread awareness, which will save lives."

Mr Nelson said supermarkets could distribute smoke detectors free with every BD20 purchase.

"Once the shopper is handed the smoke detector, he or she should be handed out a form to fill up his address," he said.

"These details could be passed on to the Civil Defence to fit the smoke detector correctly."

Mr Nelson also called for fire engines to advertise smoke detectors. "There is a big problem in Bahrain when it comes to safety education programmes," he said.

"A smoke detector is small, cheap and is not saves lives."

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Date:Jan 20, 2013
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