Worry-Free Smoke Alarms: are you ready? is brought to you by Kidde Fire Safety and I was compensated to write this post. However, all opinions are my own.
“There’s a fire,” stated Charlie flatly.
“How do you know?” I asked as all my senses jolted to high alert.
“I can see the smoke in the sky to the West,” he replied.
I got up from my chair and walked to our backyard window and looked West. Sure enough, the dusk-lit sky was not a fabulous sunset, but a layer of smoky clouds drifting over our valley. I grabbed my camera and headed outside. I wanted to establish (1) if I could see evidence of fire in the distance and (2) if I could smell the fire.
But, I could do neither – no fire evident in our surrounding hills and while this skyline was definitely smoke-filled, I couldn’t smell it.
Back inside I asked Charlie to check our local TV channels to see what was up. It was still early and the local news was still on. We watched one local channel through to the end and then watched another local channel that followed, again through to the end of the broadcast. No news on either channel on what was creating these smoke clouds.
So, then I walked back to my office and turned on the computer. You see, after losing our house in the California wildfire known as the Witch Fire on October 22, 2007, I’m cautious like that. I want to know if there is a fire in our community, county, region or state so that we can be pro-active in the event of an emergency.
After a bit of searching, I found out there was a fire burning in our county in the Camp Pendleton area, which is a Marine base to the northwest of us. And, these smoke-filled clouds had drifted 30 miles south.
As I write this post, there are more than 95 fires burning across 7 western states. With record high temperatures with heat indexes of 110-120 degrees, wind gusts fueling the fires and crippling drought, this fire season is slated to be an epic season of destruction. Watching this situation unfold over the last 10 days, there is no relief in site for the firefighters on the frontlines battling these massive wildfires. The “stats” are staggering:
- 7,000,000 acres burned
- 30,000 firefighters on the frontline
- Thousands evacuated
- Hundreds of homes lost
- Several firefighter deaths
- Active duty military and National Guard called in to help with volunteers now joining in
- Smoke columns as high as 35,000 feet into the sky
- A massive fire tornado in Idaho
For a first person account from a photographer embedded with a fire crew, check out this post from National Geographic: “A Photographer Inside the Wildfires”.
A few days into this unfolding crisis, we had a rainstorm – an actual downpour with thunder and lightening. As we watched our barren fields fill to the point of saturation, we were thankful for the hammering rain. And while the cooler temperatures brought a brief reprieve, the lightening brought its own concerns because lightening strikes in dry brush and tumbleweeds have started many of these fires already.
So what does all this talk about wildfires have to do with Worry-Free smoke alarms? Peace of mind. You see, I’m a bit of a Nervous Nelly when it comes to fire. Over the 27 years I’ve lived on this land, we’ve had 3 wildfires come through, one which destroyed our old home. And, having gone through an evacuation at 1:00 a.m. with a wildfire burning through our field and hundreds of cars coming down our rural highway from the mountain communities to the East of us, I’m a tad bit paranoid when it comes to fire. And, Worry-Free smoke alarms allow me to sleep at night, knowing that should a fire touch our house, alarms will sound and wake us up.
Last summer, I participated in spreading awareness of a new California smoke alarm law (Senate Bill 745) that took effect July 1, 2014. Manufacturers were given a year reprieve in that they could keep their existing listings available until July 1, 2015. But all new listings needed to comply with California law effective January 1, 2015. And as of July 1, 2015, smoke alarms and combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarms that are powered by replaceable batteries are no longer available for sale in California.
Why? you wonder…
The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) has found that “three out of every five home fire deaths occur in homes that do not have a smoke alarm or where the alarm didn’t work – mainly due to dead or missing batteries.”
“The risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half in homes with working smoke alarms,” shares Tonya Hoover, California state fire marshal. “Installing sealed, tamper-proof alarms with long-life lithium batteries provides the home’s occupants with 10 years of continuous smoke detection and no need to worry about changing batteries. More important, it will help save lives.”
Kidde, a leading manufacturer of residential smoke alarms, carbon monoxide (CO) alarms and fire extinguishers, has been delivering their systems to consumers for more than 90 years. Their press release dated June 25, 2015, Smoke Alarms with Replaceable Batteries No Longer Available in California – FINAL, states:
“The law, SB-745, also requires owners of rented or leased residential dwellings to ensure smoke alarms are located in every bedroom, in hallways leading to bedrooms, and on each level of a home by Jan. 1, 2016 in order to comply with current building standards. U.S. Census Bureau date from 2013 shows 5.6 million renters occupied homes in California.”
Yes, you read that right: 5.6 million renters in homes in California! And, that census was from 2013!
Kidde Worry-Free smoke and combination alarms comply with the requirements and are available throughout California.
“Ten-year sealed-battery smoke alarms, such as Kidde’s Worry-Free line, are safer alternatives that require less maintenance, are available at home improvement retailers and cost between $25 and $50. With no need to replace batteries, consumers save about $40 in battery costs over the life of one alarm. Additionally, the line offers units with location-based features, such as an added voice-warning in the bedroom alarm.”
Here are additional links with further details:
- Worry-Free Smoke Alarm
- California Smoke Alarm Law News Release
- Choosing a Smoke Alarm
- Fire Safety Laws – find the law by State (a useful resource for readers outside of California)
“After 10 years, the alarms will sound a warning to indicate it is time for replacement.”
And, that lets me sleep at night. Peace of mind.