The doorbell went as I was in the kitchen, so it was my Hero who greeted the two men in casual uniform who were standing outside. I heard him say “Come in” and wondered who we were welcoming into our home for a cup of tea.
“We have visitors from the Fire Service”.
Now, I knew the Fire Service had been given additional responsibilities to visit elderly people from time to time, to extend community links and to promote safety at home, but surely, we were not quite elderly enough to receive a call? Being tactful gentlemen, they made no comment on that score, but introduced themselves and asked if we could spend some time with them discussing a few things and in particular, to do a check of our smoke alarms.
Of course. My hero and I are receptive to any professional advice, especially when it comes delivered to our door, free of charge and with no sales pitch. Over cups of tea, we answered a few questions about health and general well being and as Lee swapped our smoke alarms (free of charge!) for new, modern replacements, we chatted to his colleague, Tim, noticing his casual observation of our kitchen.
“Does your hob light up when it’s switched on?” Well, yes, it does. Clearly, his remit went beyond mere fire safety and extended to more general guidance, such as closing the kitchen doors at night, just as my parents always did.
“Do either of you have any hearing loss?” Tim apologised for such questions, but explained that if we did, they could supply us with additional “pillow” smoke alarms. Full service here!
Our two woodburners were given the once over and a clean bill of health as a result of a good, straight chimney and advice was offered in the unlikely case of a chimney fire and the candles on our dining table were given attention. “Don’t light them near curtains, will you?”
I was impressed. Far from feeling any intrusion, I appreciated the opportunity to have two experienced and knowledgeable professionals give us the benefit of their advice, especially when the subject of “escape routes” was mentioned. Living in a three storey house and sleeping on the top floor has meant both of us considering what we would do if ever there was the nightmare of a fire. Thanks to Tim’s survey, we now know exactly what to do and where we should go and shout “Fire!” as we awaited the arrival of the emergency services. Scary stuff and hopefully never needed, Tim was quick to reassure us that house fires are very rare.
Three replacement smoke alarms fitted (with ten year internal batteries!) there was just one final question.
“Where is your tumble drier?” I showed Tim the laundry room downstairs and watched as he considered the location.
“One more smoke alarm needed here, Lee!” and sure enough, Lee was back, screwdriver in hand to fit a fourth alarm by the laundry room door. “Better safe than sorry”.
Well yes indeed. We waved them goodbye and thanked them for their service. We assured them that we would indeed encourage any friends or relatives to contact them for a similar visit, because such things are very important indeed.
It’s just not quite how we planned to spend a Saturday morning at home!