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Smoke Alarm saved our lives last night...

Prospector

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at 3am this morning a fire started in my son's bedroom (upstairs) from a heater that developed an electrical fault. It sparked onto a rubbish bin of paper, and then onto the computer. My son was sound asleep at the time - his room had filled with toxic smoke from the plastic until he woke from the fire alarm going off. He woke my other son up as the flames were about to reach the wooden walls and was able to grab some water and wet the wall, while older son called the Fire Brigade. By now we (parents) were awake and had put the fire out as the Brigade arrived - by then it was just smouldering.

The Firies told us we were incredibly lucky, had the fire got into the roof then the house was gone because of its structure. The boys rooms are built into the roof so the ceiling is only about 1 metre above this wall - kind of attic like! Let alone the smoke in a room where someone was sleeping - they told my son he had done a wonderful job in preventing a major disaster.

Lots of smoke damage, the house reeks of smoke, maybe $5000 damage and we are all alive to tell the story.

Am waiting to ring the Insurance Company now - could have been a claim of over $600,000 but now, probably around $5000.

People, if you do nothing else today, put a new battery in your smoke alarm - it saved my son's life! And I never thought it would ever happen to me.
 
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Re: Smoke Alarm saved our lives last night.......

Prospector,glad you are all well,good luck :)

well done to your sons too.
 
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Re: Smoke Alarm saved our lives last night.......

Glad to hear all is well.

And before i move into my house, new batteries are a must for the smoke alarm.

Your son did well
 

ghotib

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Re: Smoke Alarm saved our lives last night.......

Wow!! Smoke alarm beats diamonds eh!!!

You must be very proud of your sons; great presence of mind.

Glad you're all well.

Ghoti
 
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Re: Smoke Alarm saved our lives last night.......

good to hear everyone came out of it well. Some quick thinking by the young'uns there.
 
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Re: Smoke Alarm saved our lives last night.......

Put a couple of extra smoke alarms up about 2 months ago and was explaining to 16yr old daughter how they worked and what to do, her reply was ''want everything get all wet from the water'' also forgot to say shes a BLONDE :p:
 
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Re: Smoke Alarm saved our lives last night.......

I would be very interested in knowing exactly what sort of heater caused the fire? And was it actually turned on at the time of the fire? I'm guessing that it was a portable fan heater...

Approx life of batteries in smoke detectors:

Lithium - 10 years

Alkaline (Energizer, Duracell etc) - 3 years

Zinc Carbon Heavy Duty (Eveready black or red) - 1 year

Zinc Carbon General Purpose (most cheap batteries) - 6 months.

You should also replace the alarm itself after 10 years since they will wear out and fail eventually. I would like to see manufacturers supply lithium batteries with smoke detectors, thus greatly reducing the risk of a flat battery preventing the alarm from working. :2twocents
 

Knobby22

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Re: Smoke Alarm saved our lives last night.......

My smoke detectors are hard wired.
No need to worry about batteries:)

Scary stuff. Prospector.
 

RichKid

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Re: Smoke Alarm saved our lives last night.......

Prospector said:
...........
.........

People, if you do nothing else today, put a new battery in your smoke alarm - it saved my son's life! And I never thought it would ever happen to me.
I am glad to hear the Prospector family is safe and well now, hope you recover from the shock, it's surprising how one little thing can lead to another and before you know it lives are lost. It's amazing how a simple device like a smoke alarm can prevent so many tragedies. Thank you for sharing and for the timely warning. Always worth repeating.
 
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Re: Smoke Alarm saved our lives last night.......

Smurf1976 said:
I would be very interested in knowing exactly what sort of heater caused the fire? And was it actually turned on at the time of the fire? I'm guessing that it was a portable fan heater...

Approx life of batteries in smoke detectors:

Lithium - 10 years

Alkaline (Energizer, Duracell etc) - 3 years

Zinc Carbon Heavy Duty (Eveready black or red) - 1 year

Zinc Carbon General Purpose (most cheap batteries) - 6 months.

You should also replace the alarm itself after 10 years since they will wear out and fail eventually. I would like to see manufacturers supply lithium batteries with smoke detectors, thus greatly reducing the risk of a flat battery preventing the alarm from working. :2twocents
I did notice a new smoke alarm's batteries, we bought, only lasted about six months. Also it contained 3 large button type batteries.

Three of our smoke alarms are over 20 years old, I thought they would be OK as these special smoke making matches set them off alright. Am I wrong?
 

Prospector

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Re: Smoke Alarm saved our lives last night.......

Thankyou for all your kind thoughts. We are working our way through the Insurance stuff now!

The heater, which we now know to be the cause of the fire, was an Altantic heater, purchased at a store like Saverys or similar. Maybe three years old so pretty new really! It is a slimline convection style heater, no fan. The warm air comes from the vents at the top. About 1 metre wide and .8 metre high. It was on low setting at the time and it has a thermostat. There is a scorch mark at the top where the dial is, this sent a spark to the rubbish bin about 1 metre away, which melted and then the computer (12 months old) caught on fire.

I bang on a bit about fires at home as I have this dread of being caught in a fire and not being able to get out. We have an escape plan in case of fire. It seems to have worked although they have been told not to try to fight the fire but just get out.

We cant have a hard wire system because the house is 75 years old and with the two story electricians cant do the wiring. But I did put a battery one directly above each boys bed, which is what woke him up. He was sleeping about 2 metres from the fire.

His room was totally filled with black smoke, which very much disoriented him. The only thing he could see was the flames. So that means that you need to make sure your kids can get out 'blindfolded' on their hands and knees.

Yep, he is a pretty plucky 16 year old - his nickname at school is 'Iceman'! he certainly saved the house - gulp! He is having a sickie today from school.

The Insurance Co's electricians have been in and said we were very very lucky! He suggested we buy a lottery ticket. I think we have already won.
This afternoon, the builder comes to check for structural damage, tomorrow the cleaners to assess the carpet and smoke damage, then the quote for the software and computer replacement.

Did you know that Insurance will pay (where necessary) for all the carpets in the house to be cleaned, all the furniture and all your clothes to be dry cleaned.

I was thinking, the share market could have crashed today and I would still think i was the luckiest person alive! I dont think any of you would agree though! :p:
 

Prospector

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Re: Smoke Alarm saved our lives last night.......

noirua said:
I did notice a new smoke alarm's batteries, we bought, only lasted about six months. Also it contained 3 large button type batteries.

Three of our smoke alarms are over 20 years old, I thought they would be OK as these special smoke making matches set them off alright. Am I wrong?

For the sake of $10 why not sleep easy at night! I am getting new ones tomorrow, along with two fire extinguishers!
 
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Re: Smoke Alarm saved our lives last night.......

Knobby22 said:
My smoke detectors are hard wired.
No need to worry about batteries
I understand that hard-wired smoke alarm has the battery too, as a backup if power goes out.

Not sure if battery is continuously getting re-charged, or it just kicks in when power goes out, so it will usually last as long as in storage.
 
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Re: Smoke Alarm saved our lives last night.......

Photoelectric smoke alarms are better than ionisation ones, but cost about 3 times as much.

Still $30 is small price to pay for safety.
 
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Re: Smoke Alarm saved our lives last night.......

Prospector said:
For the sake of $10 why not sleep easy at night! I am getting new ones tomorrow, along with two fire extinguishers!

Prospector,I noticed you put the smoke sensors above the boys bed,this time put them where the fire is likely to start.and if it makes youfeel better replace the ones above their bed,but the point of the alarm is to wake you up as the smoke reaches the alarm.Also you should have an alarm near the door way of the bedroom i`m thinking it should be a corridor,as the smoke escapes from the room it will set off that as well so waking the all family.

Perhaps the exstingushers should be put near their beds,maybe under the bed,shouldnt be too difficult to permanently anchor them for ease of use,

Glad your insurance is working out well also,nothing worse than being in that position and finding all the loopholes that leaves you in the lurch,but as you said regardless you have already won,the biggest prize of your life. :)
 
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Re: Smoke Alarm saved our lives last night.......

Prospector said:
For the sake of $10 why not sleep easy at night! I am getting new ones tomorrow, along with two fire extinguishers!
Despite being old, three of our detectors are wired together, so, if one goes off they all go off at the same time. Unfortunately, I haven't seen these wired together type detectors for a long-time, perhaps others no different.
 
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Re: Smoke Alarm saved our lives last night.......

Prospector said:
The heater, which we now know to be the cause of the fire, was an Altantic heater, purchased at a store like Saverys or similar. Maybe three years old so pretty new really! It is a slimline convection style heater, no fan. The warm air comes from the vents at the top. About 1 metre wide and .8 metre high. It was on low setting at the time and it has a thermostat. There is a scorch mark at the top where the dial is, this sent a spark to the rubbish bin about 1 metre away, which melted and then the computer (12 months old) caught on fire.
Thanks for the info. Very interesting.

Amazing co-incidence today, an apprentice at work has just set a company van on fire (accidentally) whilst lighting a blow torch inside the van to overcome problems with wind outside. I can't argue about the fact that he was clearly trying to get the job done. I'll just have to get used to calling him pyro for a while... :p:

You never know when you'll have a fire so it's always wise to have smoke detectors, fire blankets, extinguishers etc. That said, you can do more harm than good with an extinguisher if you don't know what you're doing with it.
 

Julia

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Re: Smoke Alarm saved our lives last night.......

Prospector

What a frightening experience for all of you. Great outcome thanks to your 16 year old Iceman.

Hope all is repaired and back to normal before too long. Re the outcome being more important than the sharemarket, I'm sure we'd all agree. Can't compare lives with making money.

Take care

Julia
 

Prospector

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Re: Smoke Alarm saved our lives last night.......

Have just finished with the Assessors - my gosh, I cannot imagine what it would be like to lose a home. And the costs associated with the clean up - am thinking my contents Insurance is way under the true cost of replacing everything.

For instance, they are replacing the wall, cleaning everything in the room, the venetian blinds :D , the mattress, replacing the entire carpet, the computer system, the software, painting the whole room and so on. They also take responsibility for pulling up and removing the old carpet, much better than when you replace it on your own. But the costs - phew, cant imagine the whole house being done!

So my next pearl of wisdom is make sure your contents Insurance reflects the true cost of removing/cleaning as well as replacing!

Iceman is doing well - went to school today smelling of smoke and being a hero!

And can I plug SGIC here - I think it is IAG in other states! They have been excellent.
 
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Re: Smoke Alarm saved our lives last night.......

Prospector said:
So my next pearl of wisdom is make sure your contents Insurance reflects the true cost of removing/cleaning as well as replacing!
Wow - sounds like they are looking after you Prospector. That's great.

Must be a coincidence - our house and contents insurance arrived in the mail today. Might just have a closer look at it!

Regards

Duckman
 

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