It was 2.45am.
I was awake but I didn't know why. I lay there.
Heard a beep. A tiny beep, literally could have been a mouse.
We've got a neat bedside lamp, you touch the base once and it lights up very dimly. My other half is in a deep sleep.
There's the beep again.
Slide out of bed and check the technology; not coming from my phone, or the Kindle or the iPad. Or the alarm clock.
There it is again.
I move around the room trying to get a bead. It doesn't seem to be coming from anywhere, but there it goes again, I'm never going back to sleep now, not with the beep.
I quietly open the bedroom door. There it is again, louder. It's coming from somewhere in the house. I check the smoke alarms; one on the landing, the other in the hall. Not them.
We've one other device in the hall. The carbon monoxide alarm. I put my head next to it and...
Hell's bells and buckets of ****!!! The carbon bloody monoxide alarm is going off!!!
I fling open the front door, waft in some air and charge upstairs two at a time. The worst nightmare is a possibilty..
I have to check all the family.
Check they are alive.
Who to check first? Who matters most? That quandary didn't come into the equation because I did it geographically, I opened the first bedroom door I came to; child visibly stirred as the landing light fell across his face. Checked everyone including making sure my other half is breathing. Went back to each bedroom and noiselessly made sure windows were as wide open as safety latches allow.
I remembered the alarm's instructions were glued to the inside of the little wooden key cupboard we keep next to the alarm itself. The advice was to get everyone out of the house and phone the Gas Board.
The half of me that wasn't in a bit of panic had told me from the off that surely if the alarm detected the danger gas it would make a right racket and continuously.
The other voice in my head had told me to put the certainty of safety above all other scenarios.
Sure enough; good old You Tube. I searched "My Kidde carbon monoxide alarm" and before I could add any more prompts it offered "Is making an intermittent beep."
The batteries were running low. We've had it nearly ten years and it promises a ten year run on three AAAs.
I watched a video on how to use the alarm to run a test to find out how much carbon monoxide was in our house generally, answer nil.
I'm wide awake.
You Tube offered me more videos about alarms, I watched a couple. Then it started offering me; "Ten photographs that defy explanation" and "Mysterious Area 51 activity filmed from the air."
Then a clickthrough to a mum who lives not a mile from me who lost 40lbs using this crazy single tip.
As to the question of who to rescue first if the worst had come to the worst, I'm simply not going there. The best I can do is to say that I believe I'd put myself last.
I expect you're the same, but don't even go there.
PS. The damn alarm had to decide to tell us it wanted new batteries at 2.45am didn't it? Not during daytime, oh no...