It might be true that there’s no smoke without a fire, but it’s also true that a smoke alarm can say there’s smoke even if there isn’t a fire.
One of my smoke alarms went off a little while ago, and I about jumped out of my skin. There’s no fire, no smoke, I’d recently changed the batteries, it’s only a couple of years old, and still it went off, scaring me half to death. A few minutes later, it went off again. I changed the battery because that’s all I could think of to do since there was no fire to put out.
I’m sitting here waiting to see if it will go off again, my heart still pumping, my ears still ringing, my hands still shaking from the adrenaline rush.
I wish there was a way to adjust the sound level of a smoke alarm. The sound emanating from that smoke alarm is ridiculous, made worse for being in a small hallway in a small house. If there really was a fire, and all the smoke alarms went off at once, I’d either have a heart attack or go deaf. There are three alarms all within six feet of each other — one in the hallway, one in the bedroom, and one outside the kitchen. As I said, this is a small house, so to put one in each necessary locale, they are clumped together. If the noise level can’t be adjusted, then there should be quieter ones for small houses. But of course, if there were, people with large houses would use them, they wouldn’t hear them if they were in the far reaches of the house, and I’d get sued for having such a stupid idea.
But oh, man — that noise is enough to wake the dead. And if not that, it’s enough to get people to join the dead.
I wonder if anyone has died because of the alarm? (Pause to go check Google.) All I could find was a study showing that the emergency alarm has been implicated in the high number of adverse cardiovascular events and coronary heart disease related deaths observed in United States firefighters. A fire station alarm is not the same as a house alarm sounding from a smoke detector, but it’s close, especially since the firefighters are relatively young and healthy, and not everyone who lives with a smoke alarm falls in that category.
The screech seems to be silenced for now, but yikes. What an awakening! If the thing wanted a new battery, all it had to do was chirp, and I’d still go running to do its bidding.
Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.