So in college, there was a massive fire in our administration building. It was plain and simple scary.
Ever since that time, I was very very aware that fires happen. Fires happen when you aren’t looking. They are like cellulite. All of a sudden you see it happen outta nowhere and scream and cry. Except with fires, you wish you had only lost your self-confidence in a bathing suit because fires can take much much much more.
Thankfully in college everyone was safe and the only loss was historical and monetary. Noone was hurt. But that’s not always been the case. My older brother was a volunteer fire fighter in his small town and he told us about the dangers of fire and smoke in a very realistic way. Basically he scared the poo outta us. I mean, if my huge and strong and uber-masculine brother could be brought to the point of tears over a home fire, why the heck would I ever ignore that kinda threat!? Ignoring or shrugging it off would be like strapping on Lady GaGa’s meat suit and camping in the African plains. It’s dangerous.
That’s why I got really excited when the folks at Universal Security Instruments (USI) emailed me to ask if I would be willing to write a few fire-safety related articles for them. I checked out their products and felt like anyone who worked hard to improve fire and smoke technology was my kinda people.
I also asked them if they would be willing to send me some of their products. You know me and free stuff. I have no shame.
They sent me as many as I needed for this new house. I’ve never felt so safe. And grateful. Because with two little ones in this house, you can never be too safe.
Since I have already blogged about putting up battery operated fire alarms in the past, this time I decided to share how easy it is to replace the hard wired fire alarms. Here’s our current hard wired fire alarm…
Jer began by shutting off the power at the breaker. Then he removed the alarm by twisting it off. A handheld voltage tester (this is something every DIYer should have in their arsenal!) is the easiest way to make sure it was safe to touch while still keeping your hair.
Inside your hardwired fire alarm, it’s really simple. There are three wires from the connector that are capped to the three wires from the wall.
Using a screwdriver, you just remove the old mounting bracket and then reattach the new one. Then you remove the caps and the old connector.
The new connector is basically just a little plastic bit that has three wires coming out of it (it’s the thing down there with pinhole looking things). Connect the wires according to the directions.
Then you attach the quick connector (that little plastic bit with the bunch of pin holes in it) to the smoke alarm. Jer just pushed and twisted the new cover in place. There are usually pull tabs on new fire alarms that enable it to be activated. Pull those suckers off.
Then you just check the batteries (with a flashlight or your iphone light because dang the sun goes down so early now) and turn the power back on. Our instructions told us to hold the button down and the fire & smoke alarm is now activated.
The awesome part about a hard wired alarm is that when one alarm goes off….they all go off. So that means when you are in bed asleep (if you are like me, you are a bear in the hibernation of it’s life) you actually have a chance to get awake and out of the house before you have smoke creeping up your covers.
We also took a lot of time deciding how many fire alarms would actually be suitable for our home. We put them in recommended areas on each floor.
The best tip we can give ya about placement of fire alarms is to go in each room and think about where a fire could start and if you would be warned in time to get out.
That’s how we decided to put one in the hallway between the Jill room and the Play nook. We knew that if a fire started in that play nook room, we wouldn’t know about it until the smoke consumed all of the Jill’s room (err…Will’s room) and possibly the Jack room. That could be two sleeping children asphixiated with smoke before we even heard an alarm. SCARY.
We also decided to put an alarm in the little sitting room off our master because of the recommendation of USI. We have a fire place and a big tv in there…two biggies.
Please do this. I am really pleading with you here. This is really important. And it only takes a few minutes to check your fire alarm batteries and to see if you have enough to keep you and your family and your pets safe. I know I joke alot…so does my brother…but if you could see his face when he talked about crawling into a black abyss of a room to pull out a perfectly healthy twenty year old male who had collapsed on the floor and the fear of not being able to get him out in time…you would understand how fast a fire could take everything from you.
As far as how I feel about these new alarms….really really good. After I read about ionization alarms and photoelectric alarms, it’s clear to me how fast flaming fires and slow smoldering fires are different and how the smoke is detected differently. I want to be warned of both, right?! Well that is what the USI alarms do…case closed.
disclaimer - I was compensated to review USI fire alarms…but in no way, shape or form was I asked to give a positive review or told what to write. And just to be completely honest, I would have done this post anyway…it’s fire prevention month afterall