Monday, January 8, 2018

We Had A Little Scare Of Friday. All Is Good.

On Friday, we had a little scare. Lisa arrived home from work and we went about our usual late afternoon routine. At one point, after giving the kids their snack, we sat at the table to chat. It had been a difficult and exhausting week. Lisa had to work on Saturday. We tend to grab 10 or 15 minutes here and there to sit, talk, touch base, and reconnect. In the middle of our chat, we heard the smoke alarms go off upstairs. K's daughter was home. We figured she was cooking something. The alarms stopped. Then, within a 2 minute period, they kept sounding off in 30-60 second intervals.

Finally, I sent a text asking if everything was okay and if she had burnt something she was cooking. Her reply, "I'm not cooking anything" caused concern. I told her that Lisa was heading upstairs to see what was going on. Unusual smell? Smoke? Were the outlets that had something plugged in okay?

There was nothing Lisa could smell or detect. Within 20 minutes, A had to leave with K for an appointment. We told her that we'd keep an ear out. We had no plans on going out that evening except Lisa running a quick errand down the road to get stuff for dinner.

When Lisa returned, the smoke alarms started sounding off again. Again, 30-60 minute intervals. We knew it wasn't the batteries. We've lived here for 5 1/2 years. When the batteries are low, the smoke alarm with the low battery will let off an irritating chirp every 3-4 minutes.

Lisa rushed upstairs to see what was going on. Again, no unusual smells or smoke. Less than a minute after returning back downstairs, the smoke alarms went off again upstairs.

The entire situation was well beyond my comfort level. This had never happened in the 5 1/2 years we've lived here. Something was wrong. Lisa grabbed her phone, got the non-emergency number to our local fire department and called.

She informed them about what was happening, our concerns, and let them know this was the first time the smoke alarms had ever gone off like this. It wasn't the batteries.

They were more than happy to head our way to check things out. Lisa told them that lights and sirens weren't necessary.

Five minutes later we heard the sirens. A fire truck pulled up. Six men got out. One of them asked if we had cookies.

I had to laugh. These are the same guys who do the Santa Run every year here in our community. For the past few years, when they come parading down our road, we have a big box of homemade cookies for them to snack on during the Santa Run.

They were here for almost a half hour. They conducted all of their tests to make sure there was no smoke, carbon monoxide, hot spots, etc. That included the attic. They also had our house lit up with bright lights from their truck.

Thankfully, everything was okay. They explained that with our hardwired smoke alarms, especially during this time of year, insects like to embed themselves. It could also be an accumulation of dust. They get a lot of calls this time of year with smoke alarms that are going haywire. Especially this year because of the deep freeze we've been in.

I was relieved. Lisa was relieved. We shook hands with all of the fire department personnel who showed up and extended our deepest of gratitude.

Yes, I'll be baking cookies for our local fire department real soon...

I'm sharing this story with you for several reasons.

The first, prior to Lisa calling the fire department, I had tinkered with the idea of calling them. However, being the person that I am, I wanted to exhaust all other possibilities. I didn't want to feel bad or be an inconvenience if we called and it ended up being something "simple and stupid..."

The second, I learned a valuable lesson that evening. When something isn't right or is out of the norm, it's best to call in the professionals. I learned a lot on Friday when the fire department personnel educated us on what could set off smoke alarms aside from the obvious and low batteries. Again, in the 5 1/2 years that we've lived here, nothing like that has ever happened. It was out of the ordinary.

And last, when it comes to the safety of your family and loved ones, put aside your pride. Your pride can mean the difference between safety and danger or even life and death. Had it been something serious that we didn't smell or see, I would hate to think what could have happened.

Our kids, our family, our loved ones, rely on us to keep them safe and sound.

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