First, let me tell you a little bit about myself. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Safety. I have worked as a Loss Control Consultant/Specialist for an insurance company for over 25 years. My job involves inspecting buildings and operations to identify hazards (fire hazards, job safety hazards, etc.). I write reports about the hazards identified during the inspections and make recommendations to eliminate or reduce those hazards. My point is, I think about safety a lot.
Recently, a house one block away from my home caught fire. The fire was intense and the fire department was unable to save the house. The fire happened in the middle of the night but fortunately everyone in the house made it out unharmed. My wife and I both said, “thank goodness they had smoke detectors.”
This brings me to the main reason for this topic. As my wife and I discussed the recent fire and how the smoke detectors probably saved people’s lives, we both realized our smoke detectors were not installed. We moved into a new house in the fall of 2011. We had to do some remodeling in order to move in (tear out/replace carpet, scrub/prime/paint walls and ceilings, etc.). We were on a tight time table and all of the work and moving had to be completed in two weeks. The smoke detectors were taken down prior to painting and, in all of the hustle and bustle of working and moving, were never put back up. I’m happy to report I have corrected the problem. Brand new smoke detectors are now in place throughout the house.
So, when was the last time you checked your smoke alarms? Maybe, as in my case, they were taken down the last time you painted, or maybe the detector kept going off when you were cooking and the battery was removed to “fix“ it. Do you remember the last time you checked and/or replaced the batteries? How old are they? The main point is, it’s easy to forget about your smoke detectors. As I said above, I think about safety every day and I still forgot about them. Please, take a few minutes to check your smoke detectors. The National Fire Protection Association offers the following tips:
- Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement.
- Smoke rises so install smoke alarms according to manufacturer’s instructions high on a wall or on a ceiling.
- Test alarms monthly using the “Test” button.
- Replace batteries at least annually. If an alarm “chirps” a low battery warning, replace the battery ASAP.
- Replace smoke alarms when they are 10 years old or sooner if they do not respond properly.
How does your family remember to check your smoke detectors? Do you have any hints or tips you can share?