Smoke and Fire

I am going to write a blog soon discussing the most common building code requirements that are being enforced by our local building inspectors, but one code issue can't wait another second; smoke detectors. Several of my close friends, or someone in their immdediate family have lost their homes in recent fires. Most of them have been electrical, 3 out of 4 were discovered by barking dogs or meowing cats, and by the time the fire departments could respond the fires were so advanced that at least the entire contents were lost, and one home was burnt to the ground. All of these homes had one thing in common. None of them had a hard-wired, monitored smoke and fire detector, and in at least half of them, the fires had smoldered for a couple of hours before anyone called 911. I am not endorsing, or lobbying for the detection industry; however, I am going to present a strong argument the next time one of my clients resists me when we have to meet minimal code requirements during "substantial" remodeling in their home. Modern electrical code requires hard-wired detectors(un-monitored) in new home construction, and retrofitted hard-wired detectors in homes that are undergoing significant remodeling. Depending on the accessibility, the retrofit is only a few hundred dollars. I can't even begin to describe the pain and suffering that I have been witnessing a family friend while they sift through what's left of their family treasures and have to deal with a less than desirable insurance hassle. I have recently spoken with fire officials, two of my cousins retired from Mountain Brook and Birmingham Fire Departments, and as an former EMT myself, I know that when minutes matter, certainly hours do. Please check with your local firefighting officials, inquire with your insurance agency, and call a licensed electrical contractor to find out how you can best secure your home from the devastation of smoke and fire.