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Quick thinking and smoke alarms save Collierville family and home

Courtesy Photo
Firefighter Ronnie Dunigan puts up a sign encouraging residents to check the batteries in their smoke alarms.

By Erin Daniels
CFD Public Education Specialist

A home in Collierville experienced a fire that totally destroyed a bedroom and its contents on Oct. 11 at around 10 p.m.

Thankfully, the resident knew to close his bedroom door and the home had working smoke alarms. After being awakened by the sound of the smoke alarms, the family was able to escape outside and call the fire department. The fire could have been much worse if it weren’t for the occupant’s smarts and the working smoke alarms.

A closed door is a great piece of firefighting and lifesaving equipment. It can reduce the growth and spread of fire, limit damage and possibly save lives. The Collierville Fire Department encourages everyone to sleep with their bedroom doors closed. Valuable time may be gained for making a window escape during the time it takes a fire to burn through a bedroom door and as in this case the home and loved ones may be saved by closing the door on the room that is on fire.

Courtesy Photo Firefighter Ronnie Dunigan puts up a sign encouraging residents to check the batteries in their smoke alarms.

Courtesy Photo
Firefighter Ronnie Dunigan puts up a sign encouraging residents to check the batteries in their smoke alarms.

When this Collierville resident closed his bedroom door as he escaped, it was the best decision to make.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in reported home fires in half. This October the fire houses in Collierville have posted banners to promote the importance of smoke alarms. Have you seen one? The message is “Don’t Wait – Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years!”

Do you realize home fires are now even more dangerous than in the past? Things have changed over time as the content of our homes has changed. We used to have homes filled with natural substances like paper, wood and metal. Today our homes contain paper and more manmade materials such as plastics and synthetics. As a result today’s fires can burn faster. Fires can double in size every minute or less. Furthermore, today’s fires are deadlier due to the presence of increasingly toxic fumes. Smoke can contain hazardous components that may be absorbed through the skin or inhaled. More people die from smoke and gas inhalation and exposure than from fire itself.

Smoke alarms are the first and best defense against fires. The Collierville Fire Department recommends that all smoke alarms be tested each month. Every smoke alarm contains a test button. Press the button to confirm that the battery is still working. If you cannot reach the test button, try using a broom handle or an agile teenager or neighbor. Smoke alarm batteries should be changed twice each year. Daylight Savings Time is an ideal way to keep track of battery changes.

Daylight Savings Time occurs on Sunday, Nov. 6 this fall and on Sunday, March 13 in the spring. Finally, just as the banners proclaim, smoke alarms should be discarded after 10 years.

Now available are new 10-year battery smoke alarms and 10-year battery WiFi smoke alarms.

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