Rebuttal Rewrite- LBirch

Rather Be Safe Than Sorry

No one can deny smoke detectors are a simple, but valuable object for preventing a tragic loss of a life in a house fire. But smoke detectors are not always this preventative, always reliable device. Battery-operated detectors work only when they have a battery inside. Hard-wired detectors operate only if they’re properly installed and have a constant energy source. Short-circuits in wired models can actually spark fires and create a problem on its own. Homeowners commonly install detectors incorrectly, or even just forget to maintain them.  The quality of a detector does no good when it cannot do it’s job correctly due to poor maintence and homeowner error.

One inncident that proves detectors are not “fire proof” was in 2011 when fire services in England were doing annual smoke detector fittings for houses for a fire prevention campaign. The Fire Angel ST 620 detector was supplied to fire and rescue services for this campaign, but is now on alert after one caught fire in a home after installation. Despite the high quality and reliability of the detector, this fired occured after the low battery chirp sounded, then igniting into flames. Mrs Gray, the homeowner, said the fire started near a chair and would almost certainly have spread if her daughter Victoria had not been in the house by chance.

New and improved detectors are always coming onto the market, usually advancing with technology. In a article by Haramis Electric, these detectors will alert emergency services automatically if a smoke detector is activated in your home. Also, if a homeowner is away from the house, an alert will still be sent to the police dispatch before the fire can spread. However, there are some disadvantages to these “smart” detectors.

These new detectors are being powered by the household power, and alert people when connected to WiFi. Loss of internet service, power outages, and an unreliable wifi signal can mean that your device won’t be able to send an alert when you need them the most. Natural disasters and other incidents may occur causing this connection to be lost. As a fire fighter if there is a storm that has high winds and heavy rain, we receive many calls for power lines being down. When they are down, detectors in households no longer receive the power needed operate and detect smoke.

Resources

Advantages/Disadvantages of Smart Smoke Detectors. (2016, September 08). Retrieved March 19, 2018, from http://www.haramiselectric.com/blog/advantagesdisadvantages-smart-smoke-detectors/

Smoke Detector Beeping: Maintenance Is Likely Required. (2009, June 22). Retrieved March 19, 2018, from https://www.doityourself.com/stry/smoke-detector-beeping-maintenance-is-likely-required

Brooke, C. (2011, November 08). Fire services on alert after smoke detector is blamed for causing TWO blazes. Retrieved April 05, 2018, from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2058922/Firefighters-forced-stop-handing-smoke-alarms-catches-alight-nearly-burns-house.html

 

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3 Responses to Rebuttal Rewrite- LBirch

  1. davidbdale says:

    A fussy grammar distinction that you should be aware of, whether or not you decide to follow its guideline: Very careful writers use preventative as a noun and preventive as an adjective, sometimes in the same paragraph. Your use of preventative in the first paragraph is not illegal, but it’s the less-favored variant of the two forms for use as an adjective. If you think it’s important, use preventive instead [it’s easier to spell! 🙂 ].

    But we cannot allow ourselves to forget for even a moment that force is effective only as a preventative—to prevent the destruction and conquest of Israel, to protect our lives and freedom. Every attempt to use force not as a preventive measure, not in self-defense, but instead as a means of smashing problems and squashing ideas, will lead to more disasters. [New York Times]

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  2. davidbdale says:

    LB, your work has come a long way, and as you approach the moment when you will import this post into your Portfolio, the time has come for careful proofreading. I’d like to demonstrate some needed corrections.

    No one can deny smoke detectors are a simple, but valuable object for preventing a tragic loss of a life in a house fire. But smoke detectors are not always this preventative, always reliable device. Battery-operated detectors work only when they have a battery inside. Hard-wired detectors operate only if they’re properly installed and have a constant energy source. Short-circuits in wired models can actually spark fires and create a problem on its own. Homeowners commonly install detectors incorrectly, or even just forget to maintain them. The quality of a detector does no good when it cannot do it’s job correctly due to poor maintence and homeowner error.

    Boldface indicates errors AND syntactical infelicities (less than wonderful phrases that could be improved).
    First, let’s correct the errors. In several places your subjects and verbs disagree in number.
    — smoke detectors ARE OBJECT[S]
    — smoke detectors ARE NOT DEVICE[S]
    — battery-operated detectors have BATTERIES inside
    — Short-circuits spark fires and CREATE PROBLEM[S] ON THEIR OWN
    A couple of miscellaneous errors:
    — do ITS job
    — maintenance

    The corrected paragraph:

    No one can deny smoke detectors are simple but valuable objects for preventing a tragic loss of a life in a house fire. But smoke detectors are not always reliable preventative devices. Battery-operated detectors work only when they have batteries inside. Hard-wired detectors operate only if they’re properly installed and have a constant energy source. Short-circuits in wired models can actually spark fires and create problems of their own. Homeowners commonly install detectors incorrectly, or even just forget to maintain them. The quality of a detector does no good when it cannot do its job correctly due to poor maintenance and homeowner error.

    Now, some rephrasing, if you like:
    — “A tragic loss of A life in A house fire” is too specific. Detectors (plural) prevent the loss of many lives. Let’s try something else.
    — “Are not always reliable preventative devices” is pretty good, but its verb is weak. Maybe we can do better.
    — “spark fires and create problems of their own” is oddly redundant. Problems is vague following your claim that they START FIRES! What other problem could be more important?
    — “even just forget” is just a tiny bit wordy (Remember, these are just suggestions. I am fussy, especially about extra words. You can ignore me.)
    — “The quality of a detector does no good” means, I think, “no matter how good the detector, poor maintenance ruins its effectiveness.” Maybe we can find a way to say that without a “due to.”
    — Again, this is fussy, but most writers should avoid “due to” altogether. It’s hard to use correctly but can always be replaced successfully with “because of.”

    Another version, with fussy changes. To me they feel like improvements.

    No one can deny smoke detectors are simple but valuable objects for preventing fatal house fires. But smoke detectors don’t always prevent the tragic loss of life. Battery-operated detectors work only when they have fresh, functioning batteries inside. Hard-wired detectors operate only if they’re properly installed and have a constant energy source. Short-circuits in wired models—a more common problem than we like to think—can actually spark fires. Homeowners commonly install detectors incorrectly, or install them correctly but fail to maintain them. Even the best detector cannot do its job correctly if it’s poorly installed or maintained.

    Other paragraphs have similar problems, LB. We can proceed either of two ways.
    1) You can ask for specific advice on tracking down and correcting true errors in this post and then apply those lessons to your other arguments.
    2) You can find the problems on your own and put this post back into the Feedback Please category, indicating in a Reply here that you want another Close Grammar Proof.

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  3. davidbdale says:

    You could make a much stronger rhetorical case for the Fire Angel incident, LB. While still maintaining your pursuit of brevity and clarity, you could easily devote another 100 words to the disparity between what we would ANTICIPATE from a government-approved state-of-the-art appliance endorsed by fire services agencies and the actual RESULT of that program. You throw away the “one caught fire in a home” as if it were a minor inconvenience. You toss off that the program is “on alert” as if it were not an enormous humiliation that risks jeopardizing the confidence of an entire country in its fire professionals.

    And there’s more.
    —The devices were chosen from among presumably dozens of alternatives.
    —They were installed BY fire protection teams, therefore avoiding the problem of bad location or improper installation.
    —If any detector could reasonably be expected to function properly (or at the very least to NOT CAUSE A FIRE!) it would be this one.

    There’s a difference between belaboring a point with excess language [BAD], and detailing the salient points of an argument [GOOD] in brief, clear, persuasive language.

    Is that helpful?

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