EDITORIAL: Every minute counts in a fire

Working smoke alarms save lives. It’s a fact that has been drilled into our heads since we were school children.

Working smoke alarms save lives. It’s a fact that has been drilled into our heads since we were school children.

There’s no arguing it, the statistics are there to support that statement beyond a reasonable doubt. But when it actually comes to checking smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, many of us take that little round box on our ceiling for granted.

We like to think we have time to get out of our homes in the event the worst does happen. We believe that the smell of smoke will wake us from a dead sleep and we’ll have time to get dressed with an extra layer to protect us against the cold, grab some treasured belongings and hustle anyone else that may be sleeping out of the building – including our four legged family members.

Unfortunately, in this day and age every second counts when your house is on fire and a working smoke detector is your first line of defence against a tragic situation.

Research is now indicating that, due to the synthetic materials often used in new builds and modern furniture – most of which are petroleum products – you only have three to four minutes before a room reaches that flashover point where every item in the room has gone up in flames.

Stop and think about that for a moment. Look around the room you’re in and imagine every single item you’re looking at fully engulfed in flames. It’s a scary thought and it’s one made worse by the fact it could happen in the time it takes for you to get dressed.

Our West Shore fire departments remind residents to check their detectors regularly, but we fear it’s a message that may be falling on death ears, solely because it is basic common sense. But if a recent spike in calls involving failing detectors is any indication, it appears many residents are not maintaining these lifesaving devices and many aren’t aware if they are even working.

Don’t put yourself and your loved ones at risk. Making sure your detectors are operational is one of the easiest ways to protect your home and what really matters inside of it.