Friday, January 10, 2014

No smoke alarms? That's just crazy!

by Lorraine Bartlett / Lorna Barrett / L.L. Bartlett

A friend of mine has fallen on hard times.  With nowhere else to go, she was forced to go live with a mutual friend with a heart as big as Texas.  Friend A's house is about 100 years old.  It has knob-and-tube wiring. (And did I mention Friend A is also a bit of a hoarder?)

Clutter

Friend A's home also has NO SMOKE ALARMS.  Each room has only one electrical plug.  Each room has more than one strip plug to carry the load.

NO SMOKE ALARMS.  NOT UPSTAIRS.  NOT DOWN.

PILES OF PAPER AND STUFF.  (Although apparently not bad enough to call in the TV show for help.)

I reiterate, NO SMOKE ALARMS!!!!!

I told my pal (let's call her Beverly), "I'll buy you a smoke alarm."

She said, "No!  Friend A wouldn't like that."

"You can keep it in your room."

"But what if it went off???"

Did she NOT understand the concept of a smoke alarm?  If it goes off, there's a good chance THERE'S A FIRE!!!!!  (Gosh, I'm beginning to feel like Tim Allen.)


Beverly said that another mutual friend (B) might be able to talk house-owner Friend A into allowing a smoke alarm to come into the home.  (MIGHT ALLOW?)

I couldn't get hold of Friend B for three weeks, living in fear that Beverly and her new roommates would one night die a horrible death in a house filled with clutter and no way to know if it was on fire.

When I finally got hold of Friend B, she told me one of her neighbors had recently had a fire, and after seeing the devastation, she was sure she could convince Friend A to hang some smoke alarms.

(Did I also mention that homeowner Friend A and Beverly are disabled?)

So, I visited Home Depot and they now have smoke alarms and a CO alarm (goodness knows how old that furnace must be).  The smoke alarms came with batteries guaranteed to work for ten years.

If you don't have a smoke alarm in your home, what are you waiting for?  And if you do, please check those batteries!

Be safe!

15 comments:

  1. You are a very good friend, Lorraine. I hope they never need them, but at least if there's a fire they will have some chance to get to safety.

    I just read your first Jeff Resnick book, by the way. Wow. So, so good.

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    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed the first Jeff Resnick book. Hope you'll give the others a try.

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    2. The second one is already queued up on my Nook.

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  2. What a good, caring friend you are. You're so right, you have to have smoke alarms.

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  3. I know mine work--they go off regularly when I burn stuff in the oven! We also bought a CO alarm to make sure we don't succumb to toxic fumes. Fire scares me! Hope your friend gets the message.

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  4. LOL -- ours is so sensitive, if the toast gets too dark, it starts to shriek!

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  5. You did the right thing....the clutter does not bother me as much as the knob and tube and the power strips...because that tells me her fuse box does not have enough power for all that she is plugging in..the fire (god forbid there is one ever) would start from there...there are electricians out there..I know in our State and communities..that will look at your fuse box and see what would be needed for updating..on the cheap..and do the work for free or VERY minimal charge...see if you have something like that in your area....We have used a wood stove for primary heat for over 30 yrs and are VERY aware of fire......when we got our pup a year ago...the first thing I began with her....was teaching her to bark at fire....and to not like fire....so if the batteries ever dies..she would still notify us......I did smoke too..as fires will smolder for hours before bursting into flame....the smoke is what kills people first....Also..fire departments have a smoke detector campaign for those not able to buy them easily....and you can also have them come to the home for helping people understand what will and won't be a fire problem....especially in this cold weather...people forget and use things too much, or the wrong way...glad you are her friend!

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    1. Unfortunately, there's no money for an electrician. In fact, Friend A is just surfacing from almost losing her home to foreclosure. (Which is why, I suppose, she had no $$ for smoke alarms.) I've watched enough HGTV to know how bad knob and tube wiring is, but mostly if it's been messed with (ie additional wiring added to it. It's just not up to code.) At the very least, they needed to have smoke alarms. I only found out about the fire department giving away free smoke detectors AFTER I bought them for her. I don't care. I just wanted my friends to be protected. (I suspect, that Friend A would have been too proud to ask for help from the FD.)

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  6. Our have a hair trigger. In the winter the oven triggers them. In the summer fog will do it. I think they'd react to a fire too.

    What a worry about your friend, Lorraine. Denial is a strange phenomenon. Thanks for being such a good (and patient) friend.

    Hugs,

    MJ

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  7. Lol Mine is downstairs, as far away from the kitchen as possible, otherwise I could get nuts from the thing. It starts beeping when the batteries need replacement.

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  8. This is such an important thing! Thank you for helping your friends AND for writing about the need. Recently there was a fire near us where they fire department couldn't save the man or his house because it was so full of stuff. Makes me get rid of unnecessary stuff on a regular basis as well as make sure our smoke alarms (one on each floor) are working!. A simple push of the button once a month will let you know and a beeping sound will let you know when battery is going.

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  9. This is such an important message, I hope everyone reads it and takes heed!

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  10. There was a fire recently in a highrise in the city that destroyed at least 2 apartment and one fatality - the cause of the fire was a power strip malfunction. Yeah, she should definitely have a fire alarm.

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  11. Just changed my battery in my smoke alarm at the beginning of the year. My carbon monoxide alarm is a plug in so I don't worry about it unless I have the power go out. I have a back up older carbon monoxide detector that takes batteries but don't keep batteries in it unless the power goes and the other would not work. I had a friend that didn't think much of carbon monoxide detectors. She rented and the first place she had gas heat I bought her an alarm. When I was in college a fellow student lost both her parents to carbon monoxide. That has always stuck with me........

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