Well which one is it? With ambulances closing, I’m getting more engine time and these building alarms are just as monotonous as the drunks. This dispatch is confusing, not sure which hat to wear, Medic or Fireman. Turns out all I needed was my common sense hat. I carry it with me.
Life Alert Home Ambulance summoning company has called stating a resident’s smoke detectors are alerting.
Great, now they monitor smoke detectors. At least now we know what hat to wear.
Nothing showing on arrival at the 2 story type 5, just a man holding a smoke detector, wires and all, in the front yard.
“Sorry, guys. These things are all screwed up.”
The house is familiar and so is the frail old woman at the front door, but this guy is new.
“What happened? Is there a fire?” Our boss asks as we gear up just in case.
“The life alert people called and told me to change the batteries in the smoke detectors (Go Life Alert! Imagine that.) but they won’t shut off.” He hands me the detector and I take a cursory look, pretending to know more than I do.
That’s when the smell on his clothes made me wonder…
“Sir, you smell like smoke, and not like cigarette smoke, was something burning in here?”
We’re making our way towards the house and the little old woman sees us coming and has ducked back inside like a shy child.
“I used a paper to test the detectors. It smells in there.”
We enter the house to the odor of burnt paper and can see small pieces of black paper scattered down the hallway.
“Sir, did you use the paper to test both detectors or did you use the ‘test’ button?”
I hold it up to his face, finger on the button.
His face turned the shade of the engine.
We went through every area he had walked with the burning papers and checked to make sure everything was OK. I quick lesson on how to test smoke detectors and we were back in service.