Now, it is obvious that not everyone intuitively knows that this week (October 7-13) is Fire Prevention Week, but the CBS hit comedy "How I Met Your Mother" goofed big time in last night's episode ("Nannies").

For folks tuning in to laugh at the latest relationship escapades of Ted, Barney, Marshall, Lily and Robin, there were plenty of entertaining moments to be had. What was not funny, however, was Marshall removing the batteries from several smoke detectors to power a toy. While Barney gets kudos for having an apartment outfitted with multiple detection units, the example set by Marshall was a bad one.

Nearly two-thirds of home fire deaths result from fires in homes without working smoke alarms. In order to be effective, smoke alarms must be properly maintained, with batteries replaced and alarms tested regularly to ensure they operate as intended. It also is important to replace smoke alarms in their entirety when they fail to respond to operability tests or after 10 years of the date of manufacture, whichever comes first. And if you want to reduce the likelihood of unwanted alarms (e.g., from cooking), you should follow the placement guidelines in the manufacturer's published instructions and NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code. You can learn more about proper placement at www.lifesafetysolutionsonline.com. For additional information on fire prevention and life safety, please visit www.firepreventionweek.org and www.electrical-safety.org.

As a fan, I will still keep tuning in to "HIMYM" and hope to discover the answer to the biggest question of all: did Marshall put the batteries back in the smoke alarms?


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