Smoke alarms are like having a spare tire in a car: you may never need or use it, but no one should drive a vehicle without a fully inflated spare tire. Most smoke and carbon monoxide alarms only need a battery to operate, but there are hard wired models as well. There currently are combination models that serve for both purposes, and many with a 10 year lithium ion battery. It appears these products have become more sophisticated and, therefore, seem to be more reliable. You can purchase some models that are interconnected so when one senses a problem all of them go off; newer models can be purchased that do not “chirp,” but actually have a voice alarm, and yet others have a strobe light that flashes as a warning.
Remember, it is important to use the “test” button on a regular basis and to change the battery at least one time a year unless you feel at ease with those that the manufacturer designates a 5 or 10 year battery. In addition, you should select the best date you will remember to change the battery, such as holiday (July 4th, Thanksgiving or New Years’ day, etc.). These products also have to be clean; and, when dust and debris accumulates, the alarm may not work or be delayed to the point it is not safe. All of the above factors help make your residence safer even if no smoking is allowed &/or you have a newer home.
Commentary by Sam Spital Criminal Defense Attorney:
“A 4:00 a.m. Sunday fire that seriously damaged a Greek Orthodox Church in an amount estimated to be a ¼ million dollars in El Cajon, an adjacent city to San Diego, was reported in the digital NBC Channel 39 news on January 28, 2013 . The story revealed the suspect in the arson, 38 year old Darin Williams, has a history of being institutionalized, in out of mental hospitals. He was arrested for arson, burglary and a hate crime. Fortunately, the fire occurred at a time when no one was inside the Church that was founded about 20 years ago.
The reporter did not personally offer nor seek an opinion from a forensic expert on the motive of the suspect with whom other church members were aware. It was also known that the Reverend allowed him to live on the grounds, had received his checks and was paying his bills. It is evident Williams needed more than spiritual guidance for his mental illness. This story is a further example of a far too common situation in which an individual fails to be accountable for his apparently overpowering challenges; even more importantly, it evinces how others with whom he came in contact failed to insist upon him obtaining ongoing therapy and psychiatric care to safeguard against this and similar devastating scourges repeatedly taking place in society today.”