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Smoke Alarms Didn't Wake People Up !!!

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

This doesn't have to do with skiing - but I wanted to pass on a scary experience that I think everyone should be aware of:


Yesterday, my wife got up early and was roasting peppers over the stove. It wasn't very smokey, but it set off all our fire alarms.  We have a redundant fire / smoke alarm system, 2 in the downstairs hallway (1 hardwire and 1 redundant battery operated system), another redundant system at the top of the stairs in the hallway in front of one of my sons rooms, and another at the other end of the upstairs hallway in front of my other sons room. All 5 smoke/fire alarms went off.  I was in the garage waxing skis (the relevance to a skiing discussion post) and heard all alarms go off.  Everything was ok, and there was absolutely no danger, but I was curious why 2 of my 3 sons didn't even bother to come down to see what was going on.  I went up to their rooms and my 2 teenage sons were sound asleep ! The smoke alarms were still going off, and they were sleeping right through them.  I woke them to ask if they heard them, and they half woke up, mumbled no, and went back to sleep.  It was a very scary thought that if this was a real fire, they could have slept right through 5 smoke alarms going off !  Three of the five smoke alarms were right in front of their bedroom doors, and their doors were open - still didn't wake them up !


I'm now installing a smoke alarm in every bedroom, right over everyone's  bed !

post #2 of 9

The smoke activated noisemakers appear to be working just fine.  Sounds like you need sprinklers over the beds instead.spit.gif

post #3 of 9
I wonder if younger generations aren't as affected by electronic noises. Better get the nagging parent models. Or ladders out the windows.
post #4 of 9

Our smoke detectors also have a voice message, because of this very thing. Apparently lots of people sleep through the electronic part, but are more likely to wake up to a voice yelling Fire, Wake Up, etc.


However, we almost lost our 13yo daughter to a fright-induced heart attack, because it went off in her bedroom, and she woke up to the sound of some man yelling at her -- in Spanish, no less. Not sure she was ever so scared, she had no idea what was going on. frown.gif

post #5 of 9

I made sure to follow building codes - we have alarms in all bedrooms and living areas in the house.

Smoke inhalation seems an ugly way to die.



post #6 of 9

Some alarms are louder than others.


I have two in my house. The one in the kitchen isn't very loud at all. Yes, it's ear percing if you happen to be standing in the kitchen cooking. But it's not loud enough at the rest of the house. So if I'm sleeping in the bedroom with the door closed, it'll probably take a while before I wake up even if I'm not dog tired. 


Fortunately, the one outside the bedroom is LOUD! A guest showered with the door open, the steam triggered it. It was so loud I thought a helicopter had landed on my roof!  

post #7 of 9

As a teen I think I could have slept through nearly anything. Then when I had kids I was "trained" to wake up at their slightest whimper.


My point is maybe running a surprise fire drill would help kids develop a response to the trigger?

post #8 of 9

I would suggest practice fire drills with your entire family which includes exiting the house ASAP and measuring the time it takes.  You can make it a game with certain exits blocked.  First run the practice drills during the day with everyone simulating sleeping in bed and having the fire alarms go off.  Then let everyone know you will be running a real drill in the middle of the night on some random night.  You may want to have the older kids help the younger kids to get up.  Practice having the kids crawl on the floor below the smoke to get out.  You may even want to consider rope ladders that hang out bedroom windows.    Of course when they get older they may use those convenient rope ladders to avoid curfews. biggrin.gif   Make it a fun game. 


Advanced version might include a repelling rope system out the window.   Get proper training and equipment for this.  Do NOT try to make this up on your own by reading a book.  Bad things can happen if your not trained to make it safe. 


Here is how firemen exit a window to a ladder.  This should only be practiced with a safety rope attached to the person exiting the window.  The safety rope should be securely attached above the window.  Note during a real structure fire with interior firefighters inside, there is usually a fast team on standby.  There job is to get firefighters out of the house when something bad happens.  You can build plans and practice drills  for your own fast team with ladders. 



Here is an interesting video of firemen using a rope bailout system that all interior firefighters should have already setup in their turnout gear.




Edited by catskills - 1/4/12 at 7:02pm
post #9 of 9

Install strobe-light alarms in their rooms.

Call your local fire department for a recommendation.


By the time the heat or smoke gets to the over-bed alarm, it's too late.

That's why they get installed outside the bedroom door.


Cheers and good luck.



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