Friday, April 4, 2008

Smoke detectors

Dear friends, I would like to make a suggestion. We all know that over the years the installation of smoke from fire detectors has saved many lives. Public safety officials have done a great job of spreading the word about the importance of smoke detectors. Also some towns will not allow a house sale without updated smoke detection devices throughout the house for sale. Also there is a custom of public service announcements to remind people to check their smoke detector batteries. However, there are still many apartments, trailers and houses that either do not have smoke detectors or they are inoperable. I would like to suggest a new initiative.

Anyone who can afford smoke detectors, please buy an extra one to give to someone needy in your community. Be sure to buy extra batteries too. If you know someone in need personally, donate and install the device for them. If you do not know someone personally, how about donating it to your local church or food pantry and see if they might be interested in matching your smoke detector to someone in need.

Churches and civic groups, how about adopting an apartment building or a block of houses? Have volunteers bring smoke detectors along with them and show the owners how they work, and install it for them. Sure, some people may say no, but if you get even a handful of devices into homes that lacked them, you may some day be personally responsible for the precious gift of saving lives.

Years ago when my stepfather learned that the father in his local church was sweltering in the heat of summer, my stepdad bought an air conditioner and installed it for the father. This is how it used to be, where people just rolled up their sleeves and did something ad hoc, once they spot a need. I suggest that people do the same thing for their neighbors, acquaintances, and even strangers in your community. Those of you with an actual paycheck and job security, next time you are in your hardware store or doing general shopping, buy a smoke detector and then find someone who needs it. Don't wait to read about a sad story in the paper and wonder what folks could have done. We all know how stressed people are and things just get put off, even if they could afford the smoke detector. Sometimes the gift is not so much the cost of the detector but bringing the screw driver and installing it for the person, and reassuring them how it works.

I hope this stimulates some individual and group actions, and bless you in advance for all your efforts.