We were torn violently from our slumber at 1am this morning by a screaming smoke alarm.
As one, Tracey and I leapt out of bed and raced through the house like a couple of spooked elephants, stampeding towards the kids’ rooms.
In the lounge room the unearthly, grating, heavenly sound of the smoke alarm greeted us warmly by attempting to rupture our eardrums. Immediately I could smell an electrical fire and there was a smokey haze all about the room. As we each took a room and grabbed two children I heard a second alarm sound. Encouraging the kids out the door I banged on Miss16’s door, opening it and telling her to get out.
Intuitively sensing danger she rolled over and pulled the blanket up to her chin and drifted back to sleep.
I yelled at her to get out of bed as the fire alarm was going off. As the message finally cut into her sleepiness, she jumped up and joined us outside. From waking up until now a mere 20 seconds had past but had taken a lifetime to get through.
But it was about this time I realized I hadn’t actually seen any flames. And where there’s smoke there’s fire, right?
Tracey was counting heads to ensure all six kids were safe. One, two, three, four, five, damn. One, two, three, four, five, damn. On the third count she remembered Master19 was in Brisbane, so five was right.
Cautiously I stared back through the doors and windows. Everything seemed pretty normal, except for the time of night and the screeching of alarms. Eventually I stepped back through the door and into the lounge room where my eardrums again had their mettle tested.
And here’s where a bizarre thing happened: the smell disappeared and there was no smoke. I guess it was psychological and in my panic I saw and smelt what I feared most I would. Even the second alarm turned out to be innocent enough – when Tracey pulled Miss1 from the cot she rightly didn’t stop to turn the sleep-mat off so it was alerting us to the fact it wasn’t registering any breathing.
Now don’t get me wrong, smoke alarms are valuable and very necessary – Tracey’s mum uses hers to announce when dinner is cooked (Ken likes his steak well done).
Two hours later all the kids had settled back to sleep and just as I put my head on the pillow…the stupid, beeping alarm again demanded our attention by beep, beep, beeping (at least one of these beeps is a cuss word) at the top of its non-existent lungs. As I had placed the ‘beeping’ smoke alarm on a chair next to my head I managed a spectacular backflip off the bed and landed nimbly on my knees, very nearly dislocating both kneecaps simultaneously.
And then the whole nightmare began again.
Needless to say this morning, between coffees and very short sentences, we added new smoke detectors and batteries to our shopping list.
If you liked this post, here’s one of my favourites 🙂
Bruce Devereaux hangs out at his Big Family Little Income Facebook Page
”Raising a family on little more than laughs.”