Smoke detectors really do save lives

This is the time of the year when home safety experts warn us the danger of fire goes up. Colder weather means heating equipment shut off for months is put back in service. The Christmas season means some of us go all-out in decorating, sometimes overloading circuits and wires with hundreds, even thousands of decorative lights.

And before you start up that fireplace to roast chestnuts, have you had a chimmey sweep inspect and clean it yet? Don’t you dare use heating devices meant for the outside indoors. That is a disaster waiting to happen. And, no, an oven with its door open isn’t intended to heat a home.

What if, despite all our precautions, fire breaks out in our homes? Will we and our loved ones be able to get out safely?

Our chances of escaping a fire are increased exponentially if we are alerted to it quickly. Hundreds of people die of smoke inhalation or because they are trapped by flames.

Smoke, heat and carbon dioxide/carbon monoxide detectors can give us the head start we need to survive fires in our homes. Statistics from the U.S. Fire Administration make detectors’ value brutally clear.

Ninety-four Ohioans have perished in fires thus far this year.

Statistics on whether working smoke detectors were present in homes struck by fires are collected by the agency. Its numbers show that just a few of the fire deaths occurred in homes where smoke dectectors were installed and working. You have to quickly assume that at least some of those deaths — most likely a majority — could have been prevented with a simple alarm you can buy at any hardware store or general retailer for that matter.

Get one or more. Ensure they are in good operating condition. It could save your life.