Most or all of us have had fire safety information in school. We do our best to prevent fires. We’ve heard about making plans of where to exit and where to meet in case of a fire. We’ve heard about having smoke detectors and changing the batteries in them. But, is that enough? I don’t know if you’ve seen it yet, but there’s a video (https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=442860060974) circulating on the internet that shows children sleeping through a smoke detector alarm. I thought that was rather scary, but I was a bit skeptical because they mentioned a talking smoke detector near the end of the video. I was wondering if maybe this was more a scare tactic sort of advertising than an honest warning to parents and caregivers. So, I did what probably many parents have now done or are thinking of doing. I waited until my children were asleep last night, and tested it out. It was a school night, but I didn’t want to wait. My husband volunteered to help. He lit some incense, and held it under the smoke detector in the kitchen. We live in a split level, so the kitchen alarm isn’t very far from the bedrooms. Our kitchen is right at the bottom of the stairs, and the bedrooms are right by the top. According to the Red Cross, most house fires start in the kitchen. My son, whose room is closest to the kitchen, has really sensitive ears. I had talked to my children about this in the early evening, too, so I expected them to come out of their rooms and complain about scaring them while they were trying to sleep. I was surprised to hear nothing but the alarm. After about a minute, my husband put out the incense and fanned the alarm to make it stop. I thought maybe the children had ignored it, figuring it was just a drill since we had talked about it a few hours earlier (although I never told them I was actually going to try it with them). Well, I checked on them, and they hadn’t budged. They were sound asleep, and completely oblivious to the noise that had been shrieking through the entire house moments before. When I mentioned it to them this morning, they seemed surprised, and said they had no idea.
The only slightly comforting thing is that most house fires occur between 6 and 7 pm – most likely, while people are cooking dinner. However, those aren’t the fires that scare me the most. The ones that do are ones that might happen while we’re blissfully unaware, during sleep. I looked into the alarm that was recommended in the video, and it seems to be sold out (http://www.amazon.com/KidSmart-Vocal-Smoke…/dp/B0018SANVY – thank you to my sister, Anna, for the link). I read the reviews, and they were mixed. One thing I’d like to mention is that some people said they aren’t very sensitive, and they recommend using them only as a back up to the regular ones. That’s what I intend to do, as soon as I can get one or more of them.
What I hope everyone takes away from this, at a minimum, is to make sure you take extra steps to protect your children now that you know they might not awaken during a fire alarm. I read that one woman said she sometimes lets her older child baby-sit her younger one at night, but won’t be doing that anymore! Of course, I was already planning to make sure my children got out of the house if we ever had a fire, but now I’m even happier that their bedrooms are so close to mine! I’ll just be extra cautious, since I won’t be expecting them to get out of the house on their own.
Just a reminder – many places recommend changing the batteries in your smoke detector every six months, and some say to do it when changing the clocks for daylight savings. Since we just changed the clocks, make sure to change your smoke detector batteries if you haven’t already done so. Also, make sure to replace the smoke detectors when they get too old (I think it’s every 10 years). Here are some links I found with more information:
Be safe, everyone!