Thursday 27 Oct 2016

Fire Alarms
Matt Seinberg

One of the scariest things any homeowner can hear is the sound of a fire alarm at 4 am. Well, that happened to us last night and it scared the crap out of me. I was sound asleep when I heard this loud, piercing noise.

I jumped out of bed and went into the kitchen. On the dining room wall just outside the kitchen, I have a smoke detector. It was going off, for no apparent reason. I shut it off and checked all the kitchen appliances to make sure they were off. They all were.

A few minutes later, the stupid alarm goes off again. This time I take it off the wall and remove the battery. Marcy tested it today, and as soon as she put the battery back in, it went off again. I'll test it with another battery to see what happens. If it still goes off, it's a defective detector.

A couple of weeks ago, Melissa was at home, alone, for a while, before she went to her grandparents for the day. She used the stove to make some eggs. Michelle came home for some reason and the detector was screaming away. Melissa didn't turn the stove all the way off, so there was a low flame under the pan she used. She's lucky Michelle came home; otherwise, there may not have been a home to come back to.

She can’t use the stove, when she is home alone.

How about that stupid chirping most detectors make when they need a new battery. I have four the house; it's easy to pin point, which one is making the noise and replace the battery. Every time I see that commercial on TV showing the fellow running all around his house looking for the chirping detector I have to laugh. It's not that hard to figure out the bad one.

When boys are growing up, we want to be a firefighter, police officer, racecar driver or astronaut. In elementary school, every fifth or sixth grade class gets to visit a firehouse, sit in one of the big trucks and play with the lights and sirens.

That lasts until the next space launch or Indy car race. Then the dream starts over.

In New York City, firefighters are New York's Bravest; the police are New York's Finest. Either way, these are dangerous jobs; it takes a certain personality to do them.

I had a roommate, years ago, John, who worked in retail for a few years after college, waiting for his number to come up for the New York City Fire Department. It finally happened and he did it for about twenty years. I ran into him about 3 years ago and he hadn't aged well. The job took its toll on him and I think he retired early because of a job related injury.

As soon as you finish reading this, go check all the batteries in your smoke and fire detectors, along with your carbon monoxide detectors, and make sure they all work. The life you save could be your own.

Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.

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