Be Alarmed! Importance of Checking Smoke Alarms
By Angie Gryder Gregg, NCBAM West Regional Director
NC Baptist Aging
How old are your smoke alarms?
We know we are supposed to check our smoke alarms every month by pushing the test button and we know to replace the battery every year. But did you know that most alarms have a life span of only 8-10 years? After this time, the entire unit should be replaced. Most alarms have the date of manufacture inside the unit. If you cannot find the date, replace it. Smoke alarms do not come in shades of yellow so if yours is yellow, it’s most likely well over 10 years old.
Through a FEMA Fire and Safety Prevention grant, NC Baptist Aging Ministry (BAM) can provide free smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms for homes of adults 65+. (Call NCBAM at 877.506.2226 if you need smoke alarms.) The Smoke Alarm Ministry is a great way for churches to keep senior adults safe and build relationships to share the Gospel.
June of this year, 15 youths and volunteers from the French Broad Baptist Church participated in a Smoke Alarm Ministry. The event was designed to install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms in senior adults’ homes that were lacking proper systems. The church partnered with the Mills River Volunteer Fire Department. The church youth-created teams with youth leaders and fire department personnel and knocked on senior adults’ homes asking if they needed their alarms checked. During the visit, the teams would test existing alarms, install alarms where there were none, replace alarms that were over 10 years old and invite the resident to church.
That day, 58 alarms were installed. “We would never be able to reach as many homes as we did without this partnership,” said Firefighter Jeanne Woods with the Mills River Fire Dept.
That day 32 homes of senior adults were visited and shown God’s love. One team was welcomed by a 98-year-old war veteran. He chatted it up with the team and although he needed new smoke alarms, he needed company and listening ears even more. It was such a loving example of how God used the Smoke Alarm Ministry to open doors far beyond needs for just smoke alarms.
“Your community will know that you are Jesus’ disciples by how you have a love for one another” (John 13:35).
In preparation for Fire Prevention Month, NCBAM is providing virtual training to explain the Smoke Alarm Ministry, provide necessary training, and share how to obtain free alarms on Tuesday, Sept 21 at 10-11 am. Churches desiring to use the Smoke Alarm Ministry as an opportunity to serve can sign up for the free virtual training at ncbam.org/events.
Angie Gryder Gregg is the Central Western Director with NC Baptist Aging Ministry. She came to NCBAM after serving 30 years in the Fire Service with Blowing Rock Fire Dept. and NC Office of State Fire Marshall.
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