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    More than just a smoke alarm

    Smoke Alarms at Home Infographic

    Photo By Katie Hewett | Smoke alarms are a key part of your home fire safety plan. Check out the facts below...... read more read more



    Story by Katie Hewett 

    Navy Region Mid-Atlantic

    Her dream kitchen was finally coming together. Fresh hardwood floors were installed and cabinets freshly hung. It was the start of an exciting home renovation for Sara Campbell, program support specialist for Navy Region Mid-Atlantic’s Fire and Emergency Services.

    Until that dream went up in smoke.

    Campbell is well aware of the importance of fire safety. Not only because she works for Fire and Emergency Services, but because she recently experienced it firsthand.

    In the early morning of April 16, 2022, Campbell woke to the shrill beeps of her smoke alarm sounding loudly. Annoyed, at first, to be awake just before 5 a.m. on a Sunday by what she thought was a malfunctioning alarm, she smacked it to try and get it to stop. That’s when she realized what was really happening. Her home was on fire.

    “It was at this moment I smelled smoke and saw a glow coming from my kitchen,” Campbell recalled. “I ran downstairs to find my gas stove and the cabinets above it on fire.”

    Campbell immediately went into survival mode. She grabbed her daughter, who had already called 911, and they escaped their home unscathed.

    After returning to the house a week after the fire to gather belongings, Campbell was reminded how big a role smoke alarms played in her and her daughter’s survival when she discovered that the alarm that woke her up that night was still going strong.

    “I heard a faint ticking noise. I located the noise under some rubble in the hallway, and it was the smoke detector that I smacked off the wall,” said Campbell. “After a week, the smoke detector that saved our lives was still working. Kind of like Iron Man’s heart.”

    Sharing her story has helped her friends and family recognize where they may fall short in fire safety measures within their own homes.

    “After a few days I decided to share my story on social media and to remind my friends and family to check their smoke alarms because it literally saved me and my daughter’s life,” said Campbell. “I had so many people reach out to me, including my family, letting me know that they either didn’t have batteries in their smoke alarms or they only had one throughout the entire house. That is so


    NRMA Deputy Fire Chief Michael Bowling acknowledged that Campbell responded appropriately in the moment.

    “It’s important to note that smoke alarms are an early alerting system to get you and your family out of harm’s way. Not for you to focus on grabbing your personal items,” said Bowling.

    Bowling spoke both of the ease that smoke alarms can be obtained and also of how a lack of vigilance in maintaining these alarms could result in disaster.

    “It’s something that’s so cheap and easy to put in place, but people just simply forget,” said Bowling. “A simple two dollar battery could be the difference between life and death. It’s one of the most important things that homeowners can do for their home and for their family.”

    The National Fire Protection Association states that half of all home fire deaths result from fires reported between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., when most people are sound asleep, and that roughly three out of five home fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. Combine these two facts, and you have deadly consequences.

    Unfortunately, the fire didn’t spare Campbell’s new floors and cabinets but, thanks to her quick thinking and vigilance with fire safety, she and her daughter are safe. For Campbell, that is the most important thing by a long shot.

    “It really puts things in perspective. I worked hard for my house but, at the end of the day, it was just stuff. The only thing that that matters to me is me and my daughter’s health and safety,” Campbell said. “If our ordeal helps save just one life, it’ll have been all worth it.”

    More information about fire safety can be found on the NFPA website at



    Date Taken: 07.22.2022
    Date Posted: 07.22.2022 16:16
    Story ID: 425610

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