Get Out Alive: Part One - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

2/12/03

Get Out Alive: Part One

Smoke detectors are the best weapon you can have in your home to protect you and your family. No room should go untouched. Earlier this week it caught on fire. The man inside died. Fire Marshals say there was no smoke detector inside this man's home.

So, in order to get out alive you're going to need a smoke detector in your home. But is one enough?

Don't think a fire couldn't happen inside your home. Fire burning up years of memories, even worse, killing your children. It could very well happen. The frightening truth is residential fires are happening at an estimated rate of 2.6 million per year in the U.S.

So ask yourself this question: how well do the smoke detectors in my home work and do I have enough?

Deputy F ire Marshal Garett Nelson walked through Kenneth Shirley's home. Kenneth has many smoke detectors. "I do have three. But I do have one right here in the laundry room. It is in the kitchen and we do replace the battery once a year. And I do have one in each child's room," said Kenneth. Then Nelson interrupted him. "OK, can I address this real quick? I understand why you put one here. It makes good common sense because you have areas around here that could start a fire. Again the idea, you're going to have a lot of false alarms. You can still protect this area just as well by putting one in the middle of the dining area," said Nelson.

"I do have one in each child's room. And they're right above the children's doorway," Kenneth pointed out. "Very good," said Nelson.

"You really need one in the hallway. That would give you that early detection that way the smoke wouldn't have to get through the door before it wakes you up. And in the living room would be a really good place to have one too. The neat thing is, they're only five bucks a piece," said Nelson.

"A lot of the times I'll go through the girls room, press on the smoke detector so they know what it sounds like," said Kenneth.

Lisa Fittz is the mother of a 12-year-old girl. "I'm listening to all this and I haven't done what Kenny has done. I know Taylor's 12 so she knows what a smoke alarm is. But I haven't taught her to get out of the house if it goes off. So, I feel like she definitely needs to be educated in this area," Lisa said.

Lisa says her house only has two smoke detectors. One in a hallway and one in the master bedroom. "I'm really bad. I let it chirp. In fact, it's been chirping for about one and a half weeks," Lisa admitted.

But not good enough, according the Nelson. He insists that a smoke detector's battery needs to be changed once a year. In Kenneth's typical three bedroom , two bathroom home, he has a total of three smoke detectors installed. Nelson says he needs three more. One in the kid's hallway, one in the living room, and most importantly, one in the master bedroom. "OK, so this house would have a total of six. And you have eight," said NewsChannel 11 to Nelson. "Yes I do. People give me a hard time about it. I have four little boys, 8,6,5 and 3. I know they're going to need my help. I want to know as early as I possibly can that I've got a problem in my home. So I can get my children out first and worry about the rest later," said Nelson.

So now that the parents know what they need, does Kenneth's seven and 4-year-old girls know what to do when the smoke detector goes off?  "My kids know if they hear the smoke alarms to come get mom and dad," said Kenneth.

What about Lisa's 12-year-old daughter? "I think she's going to be the one whose hysterical. If she wakes up," Lisa.

That's what they say now. But would the girls really know how to react? What if we filled their rooms with smoke and the alarms went off? Well, that's what we did. NewsChannel 11 set up two hidden cameras in each of the girl's room. And what we caught on tape will shock you. Because it shocked their parents.

We'll take an exclusive look at what your kids might be doing when the smoke detector is sounding off.

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