Wednesday 22 November 2017

‘I want to help save lives’ – How tragedy inspired this budding young scientist to improve fire safety

Amy Molloy and Jason Kennedy

One of the projects which got people talking at the BT Young Scientist Exhibition on Wednesday was the “Fire Tech Stinguisher” by Limerick student Kayla McMahon (14).

Kayla wanted to invent a device which would help people evacuate a building as safely as possible in the event of a fire.

The Desmond College student says her invention was inspired by a personal tragedy.

“My Mam’s friend’s father died in a house fire and she was very distraught over that. I didn’t like seeing her that way so I wanted to help people come out of fires as safely as possible," she told

Over the last year, she developed the “Fire Tech Stinguisher” - a device which shows people where exactly a fire extinguisher is located in a building using LED lights.

It also has arrows which point towards the nearest exit and a built-in buzzer to sound the alarm when a fire breaks out.

“Basically, if there’s a very foggy environment because of the smoke, you wouldn’t be able to see the label on the fire extinguisher or where it is, so my invention enables you to do this by using LED lights," she explained.

“There’s also a buzzer going off for people who can’t see and arrows which points towards the nearest exit”.

While admitting science isn’t her favourite subject in school, the Fire Tech Stinguisher is something she feels very passionately about.

“I want to help save lives and help people evacuate a building as safely as possible.

“I was hoping to get this into places like hotels and hospitals to help them escape in the unfortunate event of a fire”.

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