After Saturday’s catastrophic fire which claimed a family of five in Chelsea, there was another fatal fire on Sunday in Brooklyn which took two lives. See New York Daily News story. A man and his nephew of 12 years of age died.
In both fires the victims had non-working smoke detectors in their homes.
We indicated in yesterday’s post that a smoke alarm is often a family’s sole defense against fire. A non-working smoke detector is useless.
Many people allow their smoke detectors to go dead because they have failed to change the batteries. Other people take-out the batteries when the smoke detector has gone-off once too often while cooking. These are recipes for disaster.
Here are two recommendations from FDNY on keeping your detector working:
- test your alarm monthy; and
- change the battery twice a year regularly, such as when you change your clocks.
In a larger home, you should have two smoke detectors. One should be near the kitchen. The second should be near the bedrooms. Multi-level homes should smoke detectors on separate levels.
It also appears that yesterday’s blaze in Brooklyn was caused by a candle in the next apartment. Unwatched and unprotected candles are very dangerous.
- be sure that there is nothing flammable near the candle, such as drapes or curtains which can be blown to the flame;
- make sure that there is nothing flammable on the table where the candle is placed and that the candle is placed on a non-flammable surface or tray
- if you use decorative candles, use the ones which are enclosed in a glass; and
- train your children that candles are dangerous.
We do not recommend the use of candles except for religious purposes.
We had a case where a client was using a candle in his bedroom on his night table. A cloth covering the table caught fire, and the client was burned while trying to extinguish the fire.
If you have been injured in a fire, please feel free to call to me at 800-244-9313 for a free consultation.
Mark E. Seitelman, 10/13/08, www.seitelman.com.