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Getting Out Alive: How Safe Is Your Family in a Fire?
KETTERING -- The Suddith's of Kettering love a good round of cards, especially the game called 65. They have been in Kettering for 13 years and recently moved in to their home near Lincoln Park.
"Yeah, it's a great neighborhood," remarked Bryan Suddith.
Kettering is a tight-knit community. When tragedy struck this past December, many families, including the Suddith's had some serious conversations. Four people died, including two kids, when their home caught on fire. There were no working smoke detectors inside.
"It just really made you kind of look around your house, to make sure that their were detectors, and that they worked and you don't ignore it when the battery beeps," Suddith said.
Battalion Chief Jon Durrenberg and and Fire Prevention officer John Moore are walking through the Suddith's home looking at their fire safety, and have one big concern - there's no CO detector. With a gas furnace, the vent could back up and Carbon Monoxide is odorless, colorless, and deadly.
Onto the second floor a smoke detector is in the main hallway.
"And you also have them in each of the sleeping areas, which is excellent," Durrenberg said.
Now to the most important question, what is their escape plan if the detectors sound and they cannot use the stairs to get out?
"Andrew could get out onto the roof, and same with our room and our other son's room, they both have roofs they could climb out onto," explained Melissa Suddith.
"We have friends on Lincoln Park so they know that that's the meeting spot," Bryan Suddith added, which got huge approval from Durrenberg.
The Suddith's have older kids, but if yours are younger... consider ensuring they can reach the window locks, and you'll want to drill with them in case you can't help them get out in an emergency.
Finally, the Suddith's have a bonus room over the garage.
"Given the size of this ceiling, and the height above that detector, it might delay the activation of that. so you may want to place one up towards the peek of the ceiling," explained Durrenberg.
There is one other issue with the bonus room, there is no other way out of the room. With a fire downstairs, the staircase would act as a chimney bringing the smoke and gases upstairs. So John Durrenberg brought along a fire ladder. At just 40 bucks, he says it is something every room with only one way out should have.
It's safe, we promise. Reporter Jackie Couture tested it for you.
The window was pretty narrow but Jackie said, "Once you squeeze through the little space, you're fine. You're out and you're away from fire."
"It's great to see that people are ahead of the game, as far as having working smoke detectors, in adequate places, and also having an escape plan," Durrenberg said.
"I would hate for something to happen because we weren't taking the proper steps, so I felt encouraged about it," Melissa Suddith said.
"Yeah it was really nice to have somebody from the fire department to come in and say this is good, and you have a plan," her husband Bryan added.
The Suddith's will also be making those safety improvements, o they can rest easier, especially over a game of 65.
The Kettering Fire Department is encouraging all families to get an escape plan together, and they want to help you make your home safer. If you are a Kettering resident, just call ahead to 937-296-2489.
When you show the Fire department your escape plan for everyone in your home, you will get a free smoke detector donated by Kidde.
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