We’ve all cursed them, those dreaded low-battery beeps in the middle of the night. But, what came next? Did we replace the battery or just rip it out and go back to sleep. Then what? Did we remember a day or two later to replace the battery or did we forget about it until a smoky kitchen reminded us of our folly?
Well, NFPA has a new report out that provides some sobering information to consider. The report focuses mainly on smoke alarm presence and performance in home fires reported to local fire departments across the U.S. Additional topics include the benefits of working smoke alarms, reasons why smoke alarms fail to operate, smoke alarm performance by power source, the difference in smoke alarm performance in one- or two-family homes vs. apartments, and characteristics of fatal home fire victims with and without working smoke alarms.
Some report highlights include:
The report can be found at the NFPA website.
I had never seen the TV show This is Us before. I just happened to record it after the Super Bowl because I had heard it was good. Well, being a safety person I hit the jackpot. I don’t normally get choked up about TV characters, but this one hit close to home.
I was reminded of the fire escape plan I made with my kids years ago when they were young. I even remember sitting on the roof with my daughter outside her second-story bedroom window one evening so she would not be afraid of walking on the roof if she had to escape a fire. I remembered my insistence about changing the batteries in the smoke detectors, not just taking them out when they get low and start to chirp. Yes, I was a pain in the …. So, back to the show.
Both floors of the house are involved in what appeared to be a raging inferno. Then, Jack goes back into the house to retrieve the family dog. STOP!! OMG!! What were the writers thinking! When he came out the front door I cried “Foul!” to the writers and producers for allowing him to exit the house so unscathed, hardly even coughing. After all, the house was fully involved. If the smoke didn’t get him, the heat surely would have. Then, later it happened, Jack had cardiac arrest at the hospital.
At that point I felt somewhat gratified that the producers tried to make the show somewhat real, but in reality they should never have allowed Jack to exit the house except maybe as a smoldering heap. Because of the way it was done, it looked like it is possible to walk through a house fire like that and come out OK. For those of you that have been in a real fire, you understand the impact of the heat and smoke and how it burns the eyes and lungs and causes severe disorientation… Anyway, it is TV after all.
But you know what? I am actually grateful that the writers and producers killed off a main character because it started a conversation about smoke detectors and home fire safety. And, that made it all worth it! Rest in peace Jack. …. Oh, and don’t forget to change those smoke detector batteries!
There is a nice NFPA article on the This is Us TV show that can be found here.