I was talking to a local firefighter the other day about what it is like to be a firefighter and what some of his wishes were for people like me when it came to making my own home safer for my own family and for them.
I was not surprised to find that first and pretty much the main thing that they shared was that he wished that all families would take the time twice a year to check their smoke alarms and replace the batteries. He told me that there have been many fires in the past that he has been at where people are injured or even killed because their smoke alarms were not working properly. He just shook his head, dejected as he related this to me, as he knew that this did not have to happen.
Checking your smoke alarm is something that is simple and all of us as parents can quickly do. You should not only check the batteries, but also replace any alarms that are more than 10 years old. There are some amazing smoke alarms, the Worry-Free line from Kidde, that feature 10-year sealed batteries, which means that you never have to change the batteries for the life of the smoke alarm.
I asked the firefighter why this was important. Smoke alarms are one of the best ways to provide early warning of a fire, so when they are working properly, a family can safely get out of the house. He told me that when he knows that the residents of the home are no longer inside and are safe, the fire department can focus on fighting the fire, and many times they may not even have to enter all parts of the home – especially if areas might be unsafe for himself and his fellow firefighters.
The firefighter that I talked to is definitely a local hero in my books. He puts his life at risk for me and for everyone in our community. Did you know that 87 percent of America’s 33,000 fire departments are either fully or partially staffed by volunteers – like the local firefighter that I talked to? These men and women act as the first line of defense in an emergency, particularly in rural communities. Yet, the number of volunteer firefighters is steadily declining.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer firefighter yourself, talk to your local fire department.
Kidde recently launched Step Up and Stand Out, a national campaign to help recruit volunteer firefighters and recognize existing volunteers. Part of the campaign involves a contest in which local communities can nominate a volunteer – firefighter or support volunteer – who has gone above and beyond to serve their community. Public online voting will determine the top five finalists, and ultimately, the grand prize winner, who will be announced at Firehouse Expo in Nashville later this year, and receive a $1,000 training grant and more. Visit www.firehouse.com/vf for more information on the campaign, including how to nominate someone in your community:
While checking your smoke alarms is critical, there are additional steps that you can make sure that your home is safe and ready in the case of a fire. While I know that I have shared some other ideas with you in the past, I found another great resource from Kidde that today I wanted to share with you that provides even more information: Kidde Simple Steps to Safety
Do you want to learn more about the great people that are safeguarding our homes and our lives? Check out the following organizations. These websites offer a ton of great information that you will want to explore!
Make sure to say thank you to your local firefighters and consider nominating a local volunteer for the Step Up Stand Out program today.
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