Written by Heidi Nestor, Writer and Editor, Life Alert
The only thing missing from Granny’s Christmas tree was the angel that sits on top. But putting it there was not Granny’s job anymore - that was left up to the grand kids. Every year one of her grandchildren would be hoisted up either by father or ladder to place the angel on top of the tree. That new tradition was born many years ago when Granny fell off the step stool while stretching her arm to place the celestial beacon in its place. Not only did Granny take a tumble, but she brought the tree down with her and ended up on the floor for hours waiting for someone to find her. When she was found later that day, Granny was rushed to the hospital. She was bruised but not hurt, and her doctor commented on how lucky she because permanent damage or disability can set in the longer it takes to get help.
That was the incident that convinced her adult children to get Life Alert, just in case Granny decided to climb a tree again and fall in the process, she would be able to get help fast, 24/7.
However tonight’s incident had nothing to do with the tree, instead it was the holiday meal that was cooking in her kitchen.
The turkey was in the oven, side dishes were cooking on the stove, and Granny was running around upstairs preparing the bedrooms for grandchildren and in her hustling busyness, she simply forgot to check on the boiling eggs for her famous Deviled Eggs. The pot of boiling water evaporated causing the eggs to burn in the pan and set off billowing black smoke that looked more like a diesel monster truck convention.
Snickers, the Calico cat and the Victorian home’s only furry resident, ran upstairs to warn Granny. He found her putting sheets on the bunk beds, so he jumped up and meowed loudly.
“Snickers! Get down, I have to make these beds.” Granny said, putting her four-legged companion down on the floor. But Snickers stood firm in his message to tell Granny a fire was breaking out. He mewed and cried while wondering why she couldn’t smell that awful odor coming from the kitchen. But as with most seniors Granny’s olfactic abilities have become impaired with age making it more challenging to smell things.
Suddenly Granny heard the loud voice, “FIRE! FIRE!” Just as she was to go downstairs to investigate, the phone rang. It was Life Alert’s emergency dispatch center calling to tell her to get out of the house. Granny swept Snickers up in her arms, came down the stairs, and went outside of the house. By the time she had reached the end of her driveway, the local fire department down the street had shown up and jumped into action. They turned off the stove, discarded the pot with the burnt eggs, opened the windows and brought in large fans to air out the downstairs.
Soon, one of Granny’s sons had arrived. “Mom!” He declared as he ran to her, “Are you alright?” They hugged. “Yes. Snickers and I are safe, thanks to Life Alert.” She answered back.
Later that night, the whole family was over and enjoyed the holiday meal – minus Granny’s famous deviled eggs. The family then gathered around the tree and hoisted up four year old, Emily. She stretched her arm as far as it could go as she gingerly placed the Angel on top of the tree.
Granny stood back embracing the holiday scene when Snickers rubbed against her leg; she picked him up and held him tight. Her whole life was in this home, all of her belongings, valuables, but much more important, all of her memories, and Snickers too. Everything could have gone up in smoke if it wasn’t for Life Alert’s monitored smoke protection. Granny was grateful for her family, her cat, her home, and most especially, grateful for having Life Alert.
I had put a stew on the electric stove, it was on low and I fell asleep to be awakened by pounding on the windows and doors. The rooms were filled with smoke halfway up to the ceiling. If Life Alert’s smoke detectors didn’t go off I probably wouldn’t be here.
George R., Cape Girardeau, MO
Smoke started due to a pot on the stove burning which set off smoke detector and called Life Alert. I wasn’t home but they called fire department and my cell phone. Firemen were there when I got home; they took out burning pot and opened all windows. Life Alert then called again to be sure all was well.
D. D., Williamsport, PA
I forgot I left food cooking on the stove, and this caused severe smoke in my house. The smoke detector was activated. I was not at home; Life Alert called me and sent the fire department. My home was saved from a fire.
G. W., Jacksonville, FL
I really appreciate Life Alert’s efforts. The situation could have had very serious consequences. The smoke alarm was activated by eggs boiling dry on my gas stove. My son and I had completely forgotten the eggs when we went to dinner. My daughter called my son on his cell, not knowing he was visiting me. Even when she said Life Alert was sending the fire department we didn’t think of the eggs, but wondered how I could have set off my wrist alarm. We lingered at the restaurant. When we returned 2 responders were coming out of the house. Fortunately, I had not locked the front door because it was sticking. They had opened windows, turned on fans, and started calling names from my bridge list on the refrigerator. There was no smoke damage and the fumes weren’t evident after a few hours of airing out and using space deodorizers. I was very, very lucky. The smoke alarm and Life Alert performed perfectly. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
C. T., Timonium, MD
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