Buried in the sad, tragic tale of a 3-year-old boy perishing in a Spokane house fire is a detail that, when shared, might help prevent future deaths.
"(Assistant Fire Chief) Schaeffer said the rental home had a smoke alarm, but there were no batteries inside," the Spokesman-Review reported yesterday.
The fire and police departments are still investigating the cause of the fire. But I can't help but think that a working smoke alarm might have made a difference in last Friday night's fatal blaze.
The details of the story are too gut-wrenching to relate. Suffice to say the toddler's parents, brother, grandparents, and aunt are struggling to cope.
Like all firefighters and insurers, PEMCO urges homeowners to replace their smoke alarm batteries annually. It might sound like redundant, trite advice – until you learn of a story like the Spokane tragedy.
You can minimize your fire risks. Your risk of dying in a house fire drops by 50% if your home has a working smoke detector. A combination of hard-wired and battery operated smoke detectors is best. Hard-wired systems work 91% of the time, while battery models sound 75% of the time.
- Install a smoke detector outside each bedroom or sleeping area in your home.
- Test your smoke detectors once a month.
- Vacuum your detectors regularly.
- Replace the batteries at least once a year. Replace them when you reset your clocks from Standard to Daylight Time or vice-versa.