A few days ago, while "cooking" dinner, we set off our smoke alarm. As I'm sure you already know that is not one of the most ear-pleasing sounds to come out of a kitchen. I did the standard: turned on the fans, opened the windows, and wildly waived a towel in front of it.
When the noise and the ensuing household chaos finally subsided, I realized that in the few years we have been in our house, I had never known if that smoke alarm worked. This is the single device most likely to save my family's lives in the event of a fire, and I didn't know if it worked. I was appalled with myself.
You may or may not be in the same boat as me, but it’s worth checking out your smoke detectors when you read this statistic: you and your family are twice as likely to die in a serious house fire if you don’t have smoke alarms as if you do!
A few more suggestions while we're on the subject of smoke detectors:
- If you don't have them, get and install smoke alarms now! If you do have them, make sure they work!
- Buy smoke alarms that have the seal of approval from an independent testing firm such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or Factory Manual (FM).
- Your house should have at least one smoke alarm on each level and one outside each bedroom.
- You should test your smoke alarms at least once a month, and you should replace the batteries in the smoke alarms at least once a year. Many people change their batteries when they change their clocks in the spring and fall.
- Make certain everyone in your family can recognize the sound of the smoke alarm(s), and they know what that sound means.
- You should plan escape routes from every room in the house, and you should figure out at least two ways to get out of each room.
- Rehearse the escape routes. Make sure every family member understands the escape routes from his/her bedroom and from all other commonly used rooms in the house.
So, please check the batteries on your smoke alarms. If you don't already have them, please get smoke alarms. And please, make it a regular habit to make sure they are operating correctly.
All of us at Joyce, Jackman & Bell want you and your family to be safe and sound all year 'round.