Door locks should be changed to avoid fire tragedies
By Peter GleesonThe death of an elderly woman in a house fire in Terryglass has prompted a call on the Government to legislate for a ban on the type of door locks in the homes of older people which require a key to open from the inside.
By Peter Gleeson
The death of an elderly woman in a house fire in Terryglass has prompted a call on the Government to legislate for a ban on the type of door locks in the homes of older people which require a key to open from the inside.
Jason Cahill, who heads up a local company fitting doors and windows in houses, said it should be a law that locked doors in homes of older people can be opened from the inside without having to resort to a key.
Mr Cahill was reacting to a report which appeared in a recent issue of this newspaper in relation to an inquest into the death of 85-year-old Mary Downey during a fire in her home at Ashgrove, Terryglass, on February 4 this year.
Mr Cahill contacted The Guardian to support Michael Downey, a son of the deceased, who had written a letter to the coroner in his mother's inquest in which he stated that the locking system in her house were unsuitable for older people.
The inquest had heard that the late Mrs Downey had previously availed of a Government grant to get new PVC doors and widows fitted in her house. Mr Downey had alluded to the fact that the doors and windows of his mother's house could not be opened from the inside without a key when locked.
Mr Downey urged that the Government look at changing its policy so that PVC doors and windows availed of through the grant system be fitted with rotary locks which would not require keys when unlocking from the inside.
Now his call has been supported by Mr Cahill who wants the Government to legislate to ensure all doors in homes of the elderly can be opened from the inside without a key.
Mr Cahill, the head of a company called Emerald UPVC based at Pallas, Newtown, Nenagh, feels so strongly about the matter that he is offering to fit these locks at cost price in homes of older people in the North Tipperary area.
And he has also come out in support of Mr Downey who had told the inquest that his late mother had previously had an accident when she tripped over the high threshold on her newly fitted grant aided PVC door.
Mr Cahill said only low thresholds should be allowed by law on doors in the homes of older people in order to avoid tripping accidents like that suffered by late Mrs Downey.
'I totally agree with what Michael Downey said,' added Mr Cahill.
He went on to say that a locking system should be fitted that made it easy for older people to get out of a house in the event of an emergency.
He felt the locking system should also allow for entry from the outside by a person who wants to get into a house to help someone in distress.
The inquest had heard how many PVC doors could not be opened with their keys from the outside if a key had been inserted in the keyhold on the internal side.
'If the proper kind of locks were fitted in the homes of older people I think it could potentially cut down on fatalities,' said Mr Cahill.
'If a person has a fire in their house and their doors is locked how are they going to find a key to get out with all the smoke?' he asked.
Mr Cahill said fire escape windows, now standard in all new houses, should be fitted in older houses too.
So, if there are any older people out there who want to have their locks changed at cost price, then phone Jason Cahill's company. The number is 067-23006.