I used to work for the Red Cross in Missouri. Most people know about the blood drives and the disaster relief, but not many know that the Red Cross also does single family fires. They help people who have lost everything to a house fire by giving them vouchers for food, clothes and furniture.
Nothing can be more tragic for a family than to have their house burn down, especially if loved ones are lost. And the tragedy is even more heartbreaking if the loved ones lost are children.
That’s why it’s so important that the family do three things to prepare for a house fire. One, they should practice an escape route. It’s not the fire that actually kills people in a house fire, but the smoke. Smoke inhalation can be deadly.
And even though you are familiar with the inside of your house, the smoke can make it impossible to see even a few feet in front of you. The second thing that you need is smoke detectors placed strategically throughout your house on every floor.
There should be one in the basement near the furnace, one in the hallway and one in the bedroom. If you have a second floor then smoke detectors should be in the second floor hallway and bedrooms as well.
They are inexpensive and you can never have too many. You might also invest in a carbon monoxide detector if you have a gas furnace or a wood burning fireplace.
And finally you must have fresh batteries in the fire detectors. They are useless if the batteries are dead and they don’t work.
A good time to change out the batteries in your smoke detector is when daylight savings time ends in the fall. According to the St. Louis Front Page News: “Missourians can make the most of the hour they will gain next weekend – due to the end of Daylight Saving Time – by changing the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Studies show that about 90 percent of U.S. homes have smoke alarms, but that often the batteries are dead or missing,”
The simple act of installing fresh batteries in your smoke alarms can make all the difference in the world in surviving a house fire. Almost 40% of the deaths suffered in house fires are from the smoke detectors not working because the batteries are dead.
So use that extra hour that you have in the fall to change the batteries and test your smoke alarms. Be sure to test the battery by pushing the red button, but also test by holding a source of smoke like a burning piece of paper near the alarm.