I cringe every time I hear this story. The family was making dinner when cooking fumes set off the smoke alarms. Annoyed and trying to get the evening's dinner going, someone hurriedly pulled out the batteries or disconnected the wires. Ah, peace and quiet at last, and a pleasant family dinner. But then they forgot about the disconnected alarms. Now what?
As chief of the Lynn Haven Fire Department, this scenario is the major reason why smoke alarms are not working in one of every five households here and across the country. And a disabled smoke alarm is a prescription for disaster. When fire strikes, we may have only moments to get out safely. Without working smoke alarms to signal a fire, especially late at night, those are moments we may not have.
If you are one of the people who think you will wake up to the smell of smoke if a fire starts, you're wrong. The toxic smoke is more likely to put you into a deeper sleep. Late at night, the loud sound of a working smoke alarm is the only thing that can give you time to escape when fire strikes. And all kinds of fires can strike when you're asleep and not able to keep an eye on things. A space heater, a pan on the stove, a discarded cigarette or a lit candle.