Patrick D'Arcy.

Student strives to improve awareness of need for fire escape plan

Public asked to fill in questionnaire

A Castlepollard Community College Student is working on a device to aid the swift evacuation of children from the home in the event of a fire.

He is asking for help from the public to collect information and has designed a questionnaire.

Patrick D’Arcy, 5th year, has been accepted into this year’s BTYSTE competition in the technology category with an invention he has designed called ‘The Wide Awake’.

Patrick said: “It is important to have a plan in the event of a fire in the home. A plan that you have discussed with everyone in the home including the children. A plan that has been practised and a plan that you think about every evening when you are locking doors and windows, keeping your exit clear of obstruction and closing the doors in your home to slow the spread of a fire.

AAnd all of that planning starts with one important question; do you have a working fire alarm in your home?”

“I would be grateful if as many families as possible answered my questionnaire to give me a clear idea what information I need to guide my research and programme into my product so that it helps aid a swift evacuation from a home. “

Patrick was inspired to address a specific issue that he had heard in his granny’s home; that sometimes fire alarms do not waken up everyone.

“The fire alarm was triggered and my sister, when she was little, slept through it. My mam got her hearing tested and was told she would hear the grass growing.

“The doctor said some children don’t wake up.

“So I started researching all the different elements involved in the safe evacuation of a home. It was extraordinary how many things you have to remember; how many decisions you have to make if you don’t have a practised plan.

“So I wanted to create something that would work with a standard fire alarm.”

Patrick’s initial research was chosen by the Westmeath LEO to represent the county at the national Young Entrepreneur Competition and as part of his prize the LEO Office team in Mullingar organised a patent mentor to help Patrick develop his idea.

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