However, Mike’s still a
little stunned. “The house filled up with smoke so fast I couldn’t believe
it,” he said. “It was only a couple minutes, and it was all over the house.
In five minutes, we wouldn’t have been able to see in front of our faces.”
The possibilities of what could have happened are not lost on him.
bought a couple new fire extinguishers for his house and replaced the batteries
in his smoke detectors.
haven’t already done so, now’s a good time to do it.
a model for people who hate it when smoke alarms go off because of shower steam
or burned toast, so they pull the battery – and forget to replace it. This
model has a “hush” button that instantly kills the alarm without removing
the battery, thus leaving the system properly armed.
hate changing batteries, Frentz and Sons also has a smoke detector with a
lithium battery good for 10 years. Or, if you just don’t do well remembering
to change batteries, even once a decade, there’s a 110-volt model designed to
be wired directly into your household’s electrical system. Mike says that one
is a little more difficult to install, but it’s the same kind in use in hotels
and public buildings.
detectors can cost between $40 and $50. Then again, batteries over a few years
can add up, too.
comparatively new smoke detector available at Frentz and Sons works on a
photoelectric cell system, which can detect smoldering fires, like a hot
electrical outlet or a cigarette butt between sofa cushions. Most other smoke
detectors use a tiny fragment of a radioactive isotope that can detect actual
smoke, but cannot detect a slow-building, smoldering fire.
When you’re buying a fire extinguisher, remember your ABC’s. That’s how
fire extinguishers are rated. An extinguisher with:
rating puts out wood and paper fires.
rating puts out fires caused by liquids such as grease, gas and oil.
rating puts out electrical fires.
recommends a 10-pound (pound reference refers to power of the extinguisher)
Kidde (actually pronounced Kid-ahh, but that’s another story) extinguisher,
small, light and easy to use – you pull the pin, aim at the base of the fire
and squeeze the handles together.
Sons also has a 5 pound model, rated for B and C fires, that’s good for the
kitchen. They also carry a larger, 40 pound model with an ABC rating for.
prepared for a little cleanup job afterwards. Old extinguishers used carbon
dioxide to extinguish a fire. The new ones use a white powder that chokes off
the oxygen at the source of the fire, thus extinguishing it.
extinguisher also has a gauge that measures whether it has a good charge. Most
of these home extinguishers will last a long time and Mike says the gauges are
very accurate, so you’ll know if and when you need to replace them.
And if you have a two story home, consider a collapsible steel escape ladder.
They come rolled up in a small box, but unroll to lengths of 15 or 25 feet. You
just hook an end over the window sill and climb down.