Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 27th 2015 Contents A34
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In light of the recent dis-
closure of fees paid as
briefs to lawyers from
the AG's Office over the
last four years or so, it
might be prudent that
the Law Association and
its new President provide
some guidance on this
The Legal Profession
Act (No 21 of 1986) rec-
ommends that the Law
Association makes pay-
Can these scales be
made public so that
everyone can be aware of
what the likely legal fees
may be in the event that
they need to access an
It will be interesting to
see what are the sug-
gested fees for some of
the matters that briefs
were given in the recent
disclosures---if the Law
Association does in fact
have such scales for such
matters. If not, I wonder
It is also noteworthy
that international institu-
tions like the World Bank,
IMF, UN, etc, have stan-
dard fees for consultan-
cies based on the
experience and qualifica-
tions of the consultant,
the estimated duration of
the work to be done, etc.
So, I am expecting that
for public money, there
should be similar scales.
After all, there are salary
scales throughout the
public and private sectors.
Anything less, is ut-
terly shameful. Or, was
this gate left wide open?
Recently, many families have lost their
homes to fires. This article informs about
must-know characteristics of fires, and
importantly, what to do before and during
Fires can strike anywhere and at any time,
from buildings, automobiles and even outdoors.
Fires that affect our homes are often the most
tragic and sometimes the most preventable.
Whilst loss of possessions are upsetting, far
more devastating are the physical and psycho-
logical injuries which may arise. It is a some-
what sad fact, but nearly three quarters of all
civilian fire injuries occur as a result of fires in
Are you aware that if a fire starts in your
home you may just have two minutes to
escape? In order to be in a state of prepared-
ness, here are some basic facts about the
nature and behaviour of a fire:
Fire is fast
In less than 30 seconds, a small flame can
get completely out of control and turn into a
major fire. Within minutes, thick, black smoke
can fill a house or cause it to be engulfed in
flames. Most deadly fires occur when people
are asleep. If you awake to a fire, there is only
time to escape as fire spreads quickly accom-
panied by thick smoke. Leave all valuables
behind, there is little time!
Fire is hot
The heat produced by a fire alone can kill
and it is more threatening than flames. Room
temperatures in a fire can range from 100
degrees Celsius at floor level to 600 degrees
Celsius at eye level. Scorching of the lung can
occur if this super-hot air is inhaled and the
heat can cause the clothes to melt to your
skin. Within five minutes, a room can get so
hot that everything in it can ignite at once.
Fire is dark
Fire initially starts bright but then quickly
produces black smoke and complete darkness.
If you awake to a fire you may be blinded, dis-
orientated and unable to find your way around
the home which you have inhabited for years.
Fire is deadly
Fire uses up oxygen and produces smoke as
well as toxic and poisonous gases that can kill.
Breathing even small amounts of smoke and
these gases can easily render one drowsy, dis-
oriented and produce shortness of breath.
Some of these gases can lull you into a deep
sleep before the flames reach your door hin-
dering you from waking up to escape in time.
Having now such a basic awareness of the
nature of a fire, one can make ample prepara-
tions in the homes through the following
Before a fire: plan
In the event of a fire, remember that every
second counts, so you and your family must
always be prepared. Escape plans help you get
out of the home quickly.
Practice your fire escape plan at least twice a
year. When preparing your plan, ensure that at
least two routes of escape have been estab-
lished. Windows, screens and security bars are
functional and can be easily opened or
removed. Conduct your escape plan by practis-
ing to feel your way out of the house in the
dark or with your eyes closed.
Most importantly, ensure every family mem-
ber understands what to do in event of a fire
emergency and teach children not to hide from
firefighters. Ensure appropriate fire extinguish-
ers, smoke and heat detectors are placed at
strategic points in the home and are fully func-
During a fire: Act
During a fire, try as much as possible not to
panic and ensure safety of oneself and family
as quickly as possible.
This is where the actions come into practice
from the planning phase. Always remember to
crawl as low as possible under any smoke to
your exit point as the smoke and heat rises.
If you have reached a door and the doorknob
is hot, leave the door closed and look for your
second exit point.
If you are to open the door, ensure it is
opened slowly and be prepared to shut it
quickly if heavy smoke or fire is present.
If for any reason you cannot get out, close
the doors ensuring the vents and cracks around
the door are covered with cloth or tape to keep
out the smoke.
Stay where you are and signal at a window
with a light-coloured cloth or flash light.
If your clothes catch fire, stop, drop, and roll.
Stop immediately, drop to the ground, and
cover your face with your hands. Roll over and
over or back and forth until the fire is out. If
you or someone else cannot stop, drop and
roll, smother the flames with a blanket or
Recovering from a fire can be a physically
and mentally draining process. When fire
strikes lives are suddenly turned around. Often,
the hardest part is not knowing where to
By being aware, tragedy can be avoided.
A wide range of courses on fire safety,
first aid, first responders and other occupa-
tional health and safety topics are available
at the Caribbean Institute for Security and
Public Safety for individuals, small groups
and institutions. Also, there is a full range
of security, law enforcement and public
safety programmes readily available. Contact
us at 223-6999, info@caribbeansecurityinsti-
www.caribbeansecurityinstitute.com for more
Msc, Lecturer, CISPS
A traveller passes an artwork of a boat structure called Fortuna by Dutch contemporary artist Leonard van
Munster in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Tuesday. The site-specific artwork named after the Roman goddess
of chance, stands for the turbulent times in which our society finds itself, the ship on its side cannot sail,
but might sail again one day. AP PHOTO
FIRE SAFETY AWARENESS AT HOME
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