An Alarming Situation

Dorothy and I were enjoying a leisurely breakfast this past Thursday, when we were startled by a loud, pulsing siren-like sound. We thought our home alarm system had been triggered. Not seeing or smelling smoke but alarmed that every smoke detector in the house was screeching, Dorothy called 911 and asked the fire department to send someone out to determine the cause. There was no smoke or fire anywhere that I could see. My next thought was that it might be carbon monoxide that set off the alarms. I opened the front and back doors to let in some outside air. The freeze warnings and steep temperature drop had caused us to turn on the heat on Monday night. I went to the garage, opened the attic and looked up. Still no smoke or flames. I went outside to look at the roof, front and back. All was quiet. While the firetruck was on its way, I moved the cars out of the garage and out of the way, while Dorothy waited outside as the fire department personnel had ordered. 

The first cold week of the season is a dangerous time for house fires and carbon monoxide poisonings. Heaters, fireplaces, and furnaces have been sitting unused for months, getting dustier and rustier. A tiny gas leak, a worn-out electrical cord or connector, or a failing fan motor can do a lot of damage. When the firemen arrived, they spread apart to assess the whole house. They were each wearing carbon monoxide detectors, which were indicating everything was normal. Soon they found the source of the problem: the smoke detectors had malfunctioned. I did not know that smoke detectors have an expiration date of about 10 years. Ours are 17 years old. Not only are we to replace the batteries when needed, but also the smoke detector units themselves after 10-12 years. One fireman patiently showed me about our units, how they were connected and the kind to buy. They suggested we replace them all. Fortunately, I was able to find the same model on-line. Before they left, they told me to call them when we got our new units; they would gladly install them for us at no cost.

After that alarming experience, we warmed our coffee and food as best we could and talked about it all. We are thankful for alarms that work and firefighters that are caring and patient. 

Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Check your alarms. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.

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