Dear Abby: I am a fire officer who has seen too many families experience accidental home fires, many with fatal results. It is devastating to find out that a life could have been saved had someone taken the simple precaution of replacing a dead battery in a smoke alarm.
In a recent survey, more than 50 percent of the respondents admitted to removing the batteries in their smoke detector, leaving them inoperable. A working smoke alarm in your home greatly increases your chance of surviving a home fire.
Please remind your readers to change the batteries in their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors when they turn their clocks back to standard time on Nov. 3. On average, home fires kill seven people every day. No one should be injured or lose a life because of a non-working smoke detector.
This is the 26th year the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and Energizer have collaborated on the Change Your Clock, Change Your Battery Program. What may seem like a tedious task can be lifesaving. A working smoke alarm can give families precious extra seconds to get out safely.
— William R. Metcalf, President, IAFC
Dear Officer Metcalf: I hope my readers will take your letter to heart as I have, and buy those replacement batteries TODAY if they haven’t already. Yes, I know tomorrow is Halloween — but as distracting as the holiday may be, your family’s safety is more important. If you’re buying candy, grab some batteries. On Saturday night you’ll be turning your clocks back an hour. Before you do, be sure you insert fresh batteries in your smoke detectors and test the alarms.
Dear Abby: I am a 16-year-old girl, and my 45-year-old father acts even more childish than me. He doesn’t have a stable job, and he stays out late or never comes home at all.
My father complains that we don’t have enough money and says we need to start saving, then he goes and blows his paycheck on booze and his girlfriend. I need a car to get to work, and I’ll be going to college in two years. I can’t pay for it all myself.
How do I get Dad on the right track? Please help, because I’m tired of worrying about my future and what’s left of his.
— Heading for College Soon in North Carolina
Dear Heading: I wish I could tell you how to motivate your father to behave more responsibly, but a lesson you should learn early is that you CAN’T change someone else. Your father is a self-centered individual, but only he can change his behavior.
Small college scholarships are offered by some fraternal organizations. I’m glad you wrote, because it’s never too early to start exploring what’s available. Talk to a counselor at school about what you need to do to earn scholarships. You should also look online or at your local library. You appear to be focused and mature, and with some guidance you can accomplish your goals.
Dear Abby: My fiancee, “Tina,” and I made a resolution to lose weight for our wedding. Everything has been going great except for one thing. Because men lose weight faster than women, I now weigh less at 6 foot 1 than she does at 5 feet 4. Tina already has self-esteem issues. I want to look good for our wedding, but not at the cost of my fiancee’s hurt feelings. What can I do?
— At a Loss in Michigan
Dear At a Loss: Continue being supportive and help Tina to maintain her self-esteem. But her weight issue is her responsibility, not yours. If she becomes frustrated or depressed that she isn’t losing quickly enough, suggest she consult her doctor or a registered dietitian about the reason why.