I am not Smokey the Bear, but....

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by BamaSuzy, Oct 22, 2005.

  1. BamaSuzy

    BamaSuzy Well-Known Member

    May 10, 2002
    I am not Smokey the Bear or one of those other fire-safety symbols BUT PLEASE everybody make sure you have battery-operated smoke detectors in your home and put FRESH batteries in them for this heating season.

    It doesn't matter if you heat with wood, coal, gas, or electric, you need them!

    Our house burned way back in 1983 and it was an electrical short not our wood heater....

    Since that time I have covered hundreds of housefires for the newspapers I've written for....

    This is the best way homesteaders, folks in the city, and everywhere else can protect their families....and the battery-operated smoke detectors are inexpensive and most stores like Lowe's, Wal-Mart, etc.

    Get at least one for every sleeping area and one for your kitchen area. A $4 or $5 purchase could save yours or your kids lives!
  2. DrippingSprings

    DrippingSprings In Remembrance

    Sep 22, 2004
    Great advice. I awoke to a fire in my kitchen about ten years ago. I had several fire alarms but had neglected to test them and add new batteries. So dont forget those batteries folks!!! I have trained myself to change mine on Fourth of July and Christmas.

    I would also say to add a carbon monoxide tester or two as well.

  3. Arborethic

    Arborethic Well-Known Member

    Oct 16, 2005
    Suzy, we too lost our house in a fire over twenty years ago. I, at first, blamed our Ashley wood stove. But the investigator pegged it as a bad electrical circuit (which TWO electricians had tried to fix!).

    We did have smoke detectors. If I remember correctly, we had one in the kitchen, one in the living room (near the wood stove), and one at the end of the hall, which placed it directly outside the three bedroom doors. With our bedroom door closed, we never heard the two alarms far down the hallway.

    My wife awoke in the middle of the night, coughing. As she got out of bed, saying she needed some water, I realized that I was gagging and coughing as I woke up. Due to previous firefighting training, I realized that our bedroom was full of smoke. I rolled out of bed and stopped her from grabbing the door knob, which would have seared her delicate hand seriously. The back of my hand near the door told me that we were in serious trouble.

    Despite my previous training in fire fighting, I had NOT practiced an escape route with my family. It was only luck that our son was far away on a hunting trip. I opened our bedroom window and lowered my wife to the ground. The sill of this window was over six feet above grade. If she had been alone, her fear of heights might have delayed her exit.

    After she was clear, I threw a closet full of clothes, her jewelery box, my guns, and a few other items out of the window. The smoke was so thick that I had to lean out the window to get a clean lungful of air prior to going back for more personal items. My wife was screaming for me to get out. At the time, I ignored her. It very nearly caused my death. Unknown to me, from her vantage point, she could see that the entire remainder of the house was fully involved in flames. When her hysterical entreaties reached a certain point, I decided that exiting might be wise.

    Within 30 seconds of my feet hitting the ground, our bedroom 'flashed over'. The volatile gases and heat reached that magic point where they erupted in flame. As I was dragging our meager pile of salvage away from the house, our bedroom window suddenly gushed with flames like a blowtorch. If my wife hadn't gotten VERY insistent, I probably wouldn't have survived.

    Fires happen at inconvenient times. I was half asleep. I wasn't thinking clearly. We should have practice, with our son, exactly how to react if we SUSPECTED a fire!!! That reaction has to be AUTOMATIC, rather than depending upon 'rational' thought. There's nothing rational about waking up in the middle of the night with your bedroom filled with 130 degree smoke!

    We also should have had a smoke alarm in each bedroom. Fires can be extremely localized! And just as deadly as a whole house fire. I know, I was a USN Corpsman...and an EMT/paramedic. I've seen the worst of the worst.

    We now have smoke alarms that not only detect smoke, but they detect carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide MIGHT have been why I wasn't thinking clearly that night... And we plan evacuation and hold drills. My six and two year old grandsons know exactly what to do in case of fire! They know where to go, how to crawl under the smoke, and who to notify. Most importantly, they know NOT to return to the structure that is on fire.

    Thanks for bringing this topic up! You have undoubtedly saved at least one life, somewhere...sometime!
  4. BamaSuzy

    BamaSuzy Well-Known Member

    May 10, 2002
    I have been the "fire and rescue" reporter ever since our house fire....covering all the major and minor disasters in our county....which means I have a scanner on ALL the time, day and night...

    My kids used to fuss and fuss about this....now oldest daughter is in Michigna and has just graduated from 160 hour firefighter course, graduated EMT school and is now in paramedic school....

    we are still in Alabama but I am SO PROUD of her...

    Everyone please, get those battery-operated smoke detectors and check those batteries!
  5. Kenneth in NC

    Kenneth in NC Well-Known Member

    Nov 20, 2002

    There was a fire just down the road. The Guy was half asleep. He barely got out. His detectors wasn't loud enough to wake him. I suggest if you sleep like the dead go by the Fire Dept. and get one of the hearing impared models. Those jokers are l-o-u-d.

    Kenneth in NC
  6. Caelma

    Caelma Well-Known Member

    Mar 7, 2005
    Great reminder.
    As the daughter of a retired fire fighter
    (who actually was smokey the bear LOL in all state events, at childrens hospitals and parades in our home state and fire fighter of the year one yr back in the 80's)

    This is a great reminder. I test ours weekly.
    Just get in the habit of reaching up and pressing the tester whenever you pass by it.
    I also have extra as I am a sound sleeper.
    I have one in each hallway, each bedroom and the main rooms.
    And don't forget to put one in your barns and work shops.
    Not all fires are at night and in the day you'd hear it.

    If you can afford one I would get a baby monitor or something like that
    so at night you could hear a smoke/heat alarm in the barn or out buildings..
    We have those very sensative ones, the other day it went off and nothing was burning, there was no smoke. I was cooking and things got hot in the house with all the burners and the oven going)
    And for those of you in multi level houses make sure each bedroom has a rope ladder. In a fire you may not be able to get down the stairs.
    Winter is coming, I notice many people keep a bit of firewood by the wood stove. NO NO NO, please keep things well away from that wood stove.
  7. kuriakos

    kuriakos Well-Known Member

    Oct 7, 2005
    I'm a volunteer firefighter and I've noticed in so many house fires that started away from the bedrooms and the smoke alarms close to the fire went off but didn't wake up the people in the bedrooms until the fire got much larger and more dangerous. So what I have in our house are the kind of detectors that if one goes off they all do, including the ones in the bedrooms. That way, if there's a fire at the other end of the house, we have an earlier warning and a much better chance of getting out safely (as well as less property damage). They're a little more expensive, but well worth it. Remember, a fire can double in size in just 30 seconds.

    Put a smoke detector in the garage, too. Lots of fires start there!
  8. tramp

    tramp Active Member

    Sep 6, 2004
    We have a couple battery operated detectors in our home. They're awesome! Very sensative, and loud. They get tested quite frequently.......every time I cook. :rolleyes:

  9. dmckean44

    dmckean44 Well-Known Member

    Oct 24, 2005
  10. Michael W. Smith

    Michael W. Smith Well-Known Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Great advice from everyone and thanks BamaSuzy for reminding us and trying to keep us safe.

    A good time to remember to test your smoke detectors/carbon monoxide detectors is in the Spring & Fall when the time changes. This weekend we turn our clocks back, so while doing that is a good time to test your batteries.

    Even if you pay $20.00 for a good, reliable smoke detector, the safety of your house, everything in it, and most importantly the lives of your family and yourself are at stake!!!