PRATT — Marilyn Stevens had just taken Christmas Eve dinner out of the oven for her family at 921 Lawrence in Pratt on Dec. 24 when a strange beeping noise coming from the back bedroom caught her attention. It was a carbon monoxide detector.

“I heard that buzzer and just panicked,” Stevens said. “I called 911 right away.“

Stevens did exactly what Pratt City Fire Chief David Kramer said she should have done.

“We always want people to call in, no matter what time, what day or even if they don’t know what the problem is,” Kramer said. “It is always better to be safe than sorry.“

In Steven’s case, that beeping from the back bedroom was eerily similar to a noise she dealt with about six months ago, when her gas oven developed a leak and set off a carbon monoxide detector in her home.

“They determined the problem and disconnected my oven,” she said. “I had to go without an oven for a few days, while I got a plumber to fix the coupling, but I’m glad we were all safe.“

Stevens recently had the fire department install new duo smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in the home, so she was worried when she heard the noise again on Christmas Eve.

Stevens cleared family members from the house, leaving behind the beirrocks she had just taken out of the oven.

Firefighter response took less than 5 minutes, with some arriving in church clothes as they had been on their way to Christmas Eve services.

“I was very thankful to find out this time it was an old carbon monoxide detector that malfunctioned,” Stevens said. “I didn’t know those things had an expiration date. It had been installed in 2015, and we didn’t remove it when we installed new detectors just this past year.“

Kramer said a statewide push to get carbon monoxide detectors into all residential homes occurred in 2014 and 2015. Many of those detectors have now aged out and are expired or malfunctioning. This could explain why there have been a plethora of carbon monoxide call-outs in the city limits of Pratt in the past year.

“By the numbers we have had six or seven calls for carbon monoxide detectors just this last year in Pratt, when prior to that we only had four or five in the past 10 years,” Kramer said.

He said it would be a good New Year’s resolution for all to check their carbon monoxide detectors for an expiration date on the back, since they have an average lifespan of only four or five years.

“We have had some serious carbon monoxide cases this past year in Pratt,” Kramer said, “so it is very important to pay attention to those buzzers if they go off, and to check the detectors to make sure they are still functioning properly.“

Stevens said her advice to others was similar to what she followed on Christmas Eve.

“If you hear that beep, call 911 and get out of the house, otherwise it might be too late. You never know,” she said. “Always better to be safe than sorry.”