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Smoke alarms - who has them?

(31 Posts)
TigerMoth1 Mon 14-Jan-02 10:13:05

The recent smoke alarm ads on TV have really got to me.

After 8 years of having children in the house we still havn't got a working smoke alarm. I lie, we have bought one, but we have not put it up.

For years I have been assuming my husband will put one up, but I bet I could do it myself - I just havn't got round to it.

Am I alone in this? How many of us have working smoke alarms in our homes? Go on, make me feel guilty.

Zoe Mon 14-Jan-02 10:20:40

I have got them but until those ads on the TV had had taken the batteries out of two of the three as they went off if the bacon caught or the toast burnt! Now they are back on (going off again at charred bacon or toast still) because of the last grave stone with the husband, wife and baby - I just got really upset and made my husband do it there and then, Sorry if that makes you feel guilty, but it is only the ads that have made me do it. (which is the point of them I suppose!)

bloss Mon 14-Jan-02 10:21:33

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bells2 Mon 14-Jan-02 10:38:01

We have workign smoke alarms in every single room. We also have fire extinguishers in the kitchen and at the top of the house. Our family home burnt down when I was 10 (in Australia) so it is a pet obsession of mine!

Mooma Mon 14-Jan-02 11:19:30

Don't wait for your partner to put them up - I've fitted four in various places in our house. When we did the loft, the first thing I did after it was painted was go out and buy smoke alarms. We also had a carbon monoxide alarm fitted in the roof space behind dd's new room, since there was now a bedroom above the boiler in the utility room (house was a bungalow before). They are really easy to fit, just small drill holes. Make sure you write the date you put the battery in on the casing (mm/yy) and change the battery every year before it runs down, or you'll be woken at 3am by the low battery warning tone beeping away!

Joe1 Mon 14-Jan-02 11:33:32

We have got two fitted, one downstairs and one on the landing outside our room, and both working. I used to be a firefighter and seen some nasty pics and been to some house fires.

Marina Mon 14-Jan-02 12:01:46

Tigermoth, you are so right about those ads doing their job and making us get smoke alarms and fit them. We have one as part of our burglar alarm so the house is protected when we are out...but how dim are we, it has taken over a year to dawn on us that if the burglar alarm is off, then so is the smoke detector. We bought one yesterday and it is going up NEXT weekend. We already have a carbon monoxide monitor fitted.
The house opposite us was gutted in a fire that started in a trice when the little fellow chucked something onto an open fire (over the fire guard) while his dad was upstairs having a pee. They were both moderately ill in hospital from smoke inhalation but made a good recovery, thankfully.

MalmoMum Mon 14-Jan-02 12:31:01

My dh used to be a part time fireman and that's one of the things he has really made sure we have. When we were rented flats with really high ceilings he used to put them on top of wardrobes and cupboards. Not ideal but better than nothing.
Having one above the staircase in a house is very effective.

SueDonim Mon 14-Jan-02 12:53:46

We've had them for years, one upstairs and one down. We even received one as a house warming present once! Good idea, Mooma, about changing batteries annually, without waiting for them to expire, I must do that.

ariel Mon 14-Jan-02 13:17:28

must echo what others have said,we have a smoke detector,fire extinguisher.and recently bought a carbon monoxide detector,haveing a gas fire and quite an old boiler i became paranoid about carbon monoxide poisoning, a few months back dureing the night our smoke detector went off,my husband flew out of bed to investigate and i just laid in bed although i knew what it was i suppose i just froze, i couldnt beleive i didnt move,thankfully it was a false alarm apparantly alarms can do this if the batteries need replaceing.

EmmaM Mon 14-Jan-02 13:33:47

We've got both types - I can't remember the technicalities of which one does what. One is in the hall downstairs and the other one is on the landing at the top of the stairs.

I'm always setting mine off accidently, but I find wafting a tea towel around them makes them stop! At least I know they are working.

Hadn't thought about a carbon monoxide monitor. I saw an advert in my local doctor's surgery with a picture of a boiler on it and an aspirin. Basically the message was that your constant headache could be a faulty boiler and to get it regularly serviced.

I think its important too to consider how you would get out of the house if there was a fire - what routes can you take and even which parent is going to grab which child. Older children too need to be aware of what they should do if they they hear the smoke alarm. Children have a habit of hiding if something frightens them, which is why you often read harrowing accounts of children being found tucked up in corners after fires.

I probably know more about how I would get out of a fire at work than at home which is a worrying thought.

wendym Mon 14-Jan-02 13:55:51

We have one in the hall downstairs and a second one meant for the top of the stairs that is still sitting somewhere in a box. We also have a fire extinquisher in the kitchen but of such age that I fear it wouldn't work. And I haven't tested the battery in the alarm recently. However we did do one good thing after a relative's house fire - we worked out how we'd escape from the bedrooms. The double glazed windows have special catches to let us open them wide and we have a rope. Have been thinking of buying one of those metal ladders that clip to a window cill.

The relative was trapped upstairs by thick smoke. A friend trapped with them broke a window and they were going to jump but firemen arrived and got them out with breathing apparatus. Cause - a cigarette not put out properly and no smoke alarm because the cigarettes set them off. Lucky the house is opposite a pub and late night revellers called the fire brigade.

Willow2 Mon 14-Jan-02 15:08:40

We have two - one on each floor. Don't muck about TM - put your one up now. Here endeth the lesson.

emsiewill Mon 14-Jan-02 16:58:09

We've got 2, which were (newly) fitted when we moved in. My uncle is a firefighter, and the first Christmas in the job, he bought everyone smoke alarms - that convinced me.

Rhiannon Mon 14-Jan-02 18:55:06

Yep and two fire extinguishers. Checked it too, the adverts really got me. Brilliant campaign someone has thought of. R.

robinw Mon 14-Jan-02 19:07:15

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jodee Mon 14-Jan-02 21:24:58

Absolutely, get at least 2 fitted now.
It has always been a horror of mine to be trapped upstairs in a burning house so good idea Robinw about the mobile phone.

Chelle Tue 15-Jan-02 00:52:04

We have three smoke detectors fitted in the hallways outside the bedrooms and a fire extingisher! We also have a fire extinguisher in the farm shed and in both vechicles!

bloss Tue 15-Jan-02 02:11:12

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Rhiannon Tue 15-Jan-02 10:47:12

Also, if you have a flat roof make sure one of your windows opens fully on to it so you can escape. Most of our windows open horizontally but the flat roof one opens vertically and folds right back. R.

Janus Tue 15-Jan-02 12:05:22

We have 2 smoke alarms, one on the kitchen level and one on the bedroom level. However, we live in the top two floors of a 4 level house so how the hell would we get out? What if our downstairs neighbours had a fire? No way we could jump as about 40 feet up. Does anyone know where you can get one of those rope ladders, or whatever they are, that you throw out the window and how long they are. God it does make you think. This year I came home from holiday and saw a flat the next road over and the top floor was gutted from a fire. I never found out if they got out.

Emmie Tue 15-Jan-02 12:36:08

We have two, the one upstairs also has a small light which illuminates the stairs enough to find your way down them and out the front door. My dad is an ex-fireman and says its so easy to get lost and disoriented in smoke even if you think you could get out your house with your eyes closed. We have also practised with ds's & dd after hearing horror stories of children hiding in wardrobes etc & parents thinking they have already left house. Also worth keeping notes of insurance policy no's/tel no's (even list of contents of house) at someone else's house as talking to people lots of them don't even know who they are insured with - it saves some of the stress after the event! A friend of a colleague of dp lost everything in a house fire just after xmas, fortunately 2mth old baby & family all ok & people have rallied round with help & clothes etc as they are now stuck in B&B but it really makes you think...

SueDonim Tue 15-Jan-02 12:44:13

Janus, you can buy safety ladders and a carrying harness fromGreat Little Trading Company although the longest seems to be 25 ft. Why not call your local firestation? I'm sure they would be more than willing to offer advice.

I can imagine how scary it is for you. When I was staying in India the hotels often had no fire escapes and one room we had didn't even have a window! I knew there was something odd about the room but it was only in the middle of the night that I realised what it was. I didn't sleep well.....

Inkpen Tue 15-Jan-02 17:02:32

Oh, I'll confess if it comforts you Bloss! We had three efficiently done, but at the moment I think we're down to two and haven't tested them in ages. (Yes, why DO they always run down and start bleeping at 3am??)
They now do ones that you can stick into your light fitting, but I couldn't work out what wattage they were good for ... Still, it's a good idea.
Anyway, dh and I had a House Organisation Meeting last night to try and tidy up our hopelessly vague lives, so I shall go and find the bit of paper now and write 'Smoke Alarms' on it. Curiously enough, though, we *had* written 'Fireproof Box' on our list because we want somewhere to keep essential bits of paper/photos/videocam films etc. So that's another thought in the fire safety list. I hadn't thought about discussing it with the kids, but as one is now nearing five, that's a good idea too.

emsiewill Tue 15-Jan-02 19:26:30

Anyone got any ideas on how to broach this subject with young children (eg my 5 yr-old), without frightening them? I think it is important that they know what to do, especially as their bedrooms are in the back of the house, and ours is at the front - in the middle of the night it seems like miles to them and us, how much worse in a fire? But I don't want my dd going to bed expecting that there's going to be a fire - it was my real terror when I was her age, often woke up in the night terrified that I could hear a fire crackling outside my room.

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