By: Dawn Thompson
For the past couple of years, I have been involved with different community groups dedicated to emergency preparedness. Although they each have a different role, all of the organizations have a basic standard for safety. Because of this, certain information have been “drilled” into my head and are always on my mind. One of the most important things I have learned, is to be prepared at home; to keep my family as safe, prepared and equipped as possible. This means constant assessments. As time goes by, our personal needs are change. During that time, batteries wear out, items get worn or misplaced and before you know it, it’s time to start all over again.
This week I decided to take down old fire alarms that were no longer working. These were already installed in the apartment we rented when we moved in. They weren’t bothering anyone, just old. We all know which ones worked, so no big deal right? Well, I thought it was, and decided it would be less confusing to throw them out. (Not to mention they were unsightly
At about 2:00 in the morning the other night I started to hear this high pitched squeak. I fell back to sleep then it started again. After about 6 beeps it would stop. The third time I got up. I followed the chirp into the kitchen and then it stopped again. I sat on the pantry floor waiting and waiting. To my surprise, it started again and I could clearly hear it coming from… the trash can… Ewwww.
This the alarm went on and off, on and off until I found the ole’ thing. It is beyond me how the battery had any juice left!
By now, Dean was up, the dog was up and Dylan was still sleeping. I pressed the fire alarm button, and still Dylan slept and slept. He didn’t even budge. Now I know that may not be that unusual for an 11-year-old, but for Dylan, we have totally drilled him on that sound since he was a baby. We even taught it to his dog Ozzy! I walked close up to him with it and realized that the only ear that was exposed to sound was the ear that is completely deaf. His good ear was nice and protected by the soft and comfy pillow.
In the past few days, I have done a lot of thinking in regards to people with disabilities and special needs. I brought these issues up at a meeting with the City Mayor yesterday. We agreed that together, we can make a big difference with specialized proactive preparedness. Not just for the disabled, but for anyone with exceptional circumstances.
Today at Walmart, I found a fire alarm that is voice activated and says, “Fire! Fire!” or, “Carbon Monoxide! Get Out!”
It is louder than normal fire alarms, and hopefully the voice variation will get his attention. In the meantime, we are looking into a vibrating alarm with a flashing light installed to he can FEEL, hear, and see it. Dylan is vision impaired, as well, so we need to cover ALL our bases!
For information on how you can best keep your family safe, y visit FEMA.gov. Type any of your safety concerns in the search box to receive life-saving information.