On Sunday, August 17th, a fire started upstairs at an apartment in Gallatin, Tennessee, while two family members were asleep. The youngest resident, Kyngzton, 3, heard the smoke alarm go off. He immediately alerted his grandmother, who didn’t hear the smoke alarm. They were able to wake up the other two family members and everyone was able to get out of the apartment safely, thanks to Kyngzton.
Kyngzton’s family had a working smoke alarm upstairs, but their downstairs’ smoke alarm was not working. It is important to have a smoke alarm on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Nearly two-thirds of all fire-related deaths occur in homes that have no functioning smoke alarms. Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in home fires by half. You should test your smoke alarm every month and replace batteries each year or if the equipment emits a low-battery warning. Other steps you should take regarding smoke alarms are:
- Keep smoke alarms clean by vacuuming over and around it regularly. Dust and debris can interfere with its operation.
- Install smoke alarms away from windows, doors or ducts that can interfere with their operation.
- Never remove the battery from or disable a smoke alarm. If your smoke alarm is sounding “nuisance alarms”, try locating it further from kitchens or bathrooms.
- Replace smoke alarms every ten years.
It is also very important to teach children what the alarms sound like and what they should do when they hear it. Kyngzton recognized the smoke alarm’s sound and knew exactly what to do, by alerting his family.
Families should also plan and practice fire escape routes – ideally, two exits from every room.
The Nashville Area Red Cross is assisting the family of four with food, clothing and transportation.