They’re simple pieces of technology most of us don’t think about until they’re needed. And, unlike a big-screen TV or a stereo, they’re also one of the cheapest things in our homes to maintain.
Yet when the Summerside Fire Department conducted an inspection as part of Fire Prevention Month, it found only 40 of the 180 city residences surveyed didn’t have properly functioning smoke detectors.
Less than one quarter is an abysmal rate, and the scary part is that the numbers could indicate a more widespread problem with fire prevention among city residents.
Even more troubling was that many of those without working alarms live in some of Summerside’s oldest homes, where a host of problems can contribute to fires starting and spreading faster than they would in newer models.
Given the simplicity and cost of maintaining smoke detectors, there is no excuse for this disturbing statistic.
Just last week in western P.E.I., fires ripped through a cottage in Cascumpec and a century-old home near Linkletter.
Luckily no one was home in either of the two incidents, but it goes without saying that injuries or deaths could have occurred if the residents had been at home or sleeping when the blazes broke out.
Wouldn’t you want to have an alarm to wake you up if such a fire happened in your home? Hopefully stories like those two will be enough of a wake-up call as it is.
The local fire department, meanwhile, should be commended for showing up on the doorsteps of these city residents and handing them free working smoke alarms and batteries.
It’s a gesture that shouldn’t be necessary, but an offer that many who’ve experienced a house fire likely wish would’ve been extended to them.
The truth is, if you don’t purchase an alarm or a new battery now, it’s worthless to spend money fixing your TV or stereo.
We may not think it can happen to us, until it does.
So why not buy a detector and some batteries today, before everything goes up in smoke?