Many times questions come up about codes and safety.
A code is a "MINIMUM" requirement that provides safety to an individual,
community or personal property. It is NOT the end result of maximum safety
or security that is obtainable. We should always meet the code but not be
stupid enough to ignore things that could take your family to the next level
of safety and protection. Take for example, in Ohio it is NOT required that
a fireworks store has fire suppression systems! That's the code. But the
fireworks store owner put in sprinklers anyway. It cost him money, but he
did a wise civil duty.
For my family I use to keep a large wrench at the main gas shut off for the
house, Our gas meter and main shut off use to be inside the home and when I
relocated it outside I installed a main shut off to the gas INSIDE the
house, not a code requirement but a Fathers requirement. I put an easily
operated ball valve in the main line. I did the same with the water supply.
Why did I do this? During a tornado warning my kids know how to take cover
and turn off the gas, electric and water supplies in a second! If they ever
get trapped in the basement they wont drown, get electrocuted or die from
fumes or an explosion if these precautions are taken. They even know how to
shut the gas and water off at the street and pull the electrical meter if
ever needed during an emergency. You may call me over reacting but I call it
being smart. We had a tornado about 10 years ago and a family was trapped in
a basement. Before their neighbor tried to help them he knew to pull the
electrical meter and turn off the gas! The good Samaritan was an electrician
who knew that to help others he had to remove those dangers to protect them
and himself! So, you see, it isn't as stupid as you first may have thought!
As adults my children may need this information to save someone else and not
put themselves and families into jeopardy.
Another example of a code being short of total protecting of lives is what
we have done.The code does not require them but we have escape ladders in
every upstairs bedroom AND made my kids practice using them BEFORE a problem
with fire! They practiced when they were 5 and 6 years old. They know what
to do if the door outside their bedroom is hot, warn others while your
escaping and going for help! No code can replace a parent having fire drills
and training their children for different emergencies. I actually asked and
received help from a fire department NOT in our village. We have a volunteer
FD and I felt better getting our local larger community fire department to
help me. They did, they actually came in a truck and did an inspection of
our home and instructed our kids to fire safety and how to use extinguishers
etc. I have six extinguishers in my home and they are the nicer large ones.
A waste of money? Nope, many people drink and smoke, I don't. For one year
supply of cigarettes and booze my family and property is protected! Two CO
detectors one changed every year, five smoke alarms (one in each bedroom),
and one of the handiest items are emergency lights that come on when power
is lost. In our area they are used at least once a month! Can you imagine
not taking these precautions and someday having a fire and forever hearing
your kids screaming for help but you thought a $40 escape ladder was going
'too far' ? When do you think that parent will stop hearing those screams?
When do you think that parent will ever forgive themselves?
I probably with the ladders have $600 invested and have increased my
families safety level by an immeasurable amount.
So the code is nice, but it is a MINIMUM of everything. Use some common
sense and take extra precautions when you see the need. Don't put off taking
the extra step.
BTW, did you know that CO detectors may sound when you press the test button
but all that button does is test the battery and the horn. CO detectors have
a maximum shelf life of three years!!!! There are date codes on them and
after three years of the date replace them! This is why I have two of them,
I replace them alternately. Those of you who think CO's only danger is death
have a lot to learn. Co is related to strokes, heart attacks, flu like
symptoms, nerve damage, reparatory problems, sterilization and many many
more problems are the result of this poison, and it doesn't take much for it
to do its damage.
What about fire alarms, what is the replacement standard for them?