Idea: Smoke alarms that offer alternate ways to alert you

moonman239

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Original poster
Mar 27, 2009
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What's one of the most annoying things that smoke alarms do? False alarms! Someone burns something in the kitchen, takes a shower, lights a birthday cake, and next thing you know...BEEEP! BEEEP! form a smoke alarm that doesn't know there's no fire.

You know what'd be great? If we could tailor our hardwired smoke detectors/alarm system so we're alerted in a more convenient, yet attention-grabbing way. Ideally, we could have individual settings for each alarm. For example, the kitchen alarm might just blink a light (or even not go off at all, since people rarely sleep next to the kitchen alarm.) Bedroom smoke alarms can then be customized according to how heavily you sleep - light sleepers might wish to wake up to a vibrating bed or a blinking light, or something.
 

Mr. McMac

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Dec 21, 2009
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My house is wired with smoke/fire detectors that will not only alert me, but call the fire department as well. That being said, I have none mounted near the kitchen which could give false alarms because I'm always there when I'm cooking. I have them mounted in the boiler room, basement, hallways, and all the bedrooms just in case.
 

moonman239

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Mar 27, 2009
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My house is wired with smoke/fire detectors that will not only alert me, but call the fire department as well.
Are they wired to a burglar alarm system, or to a fire alarm system? It's not uncommon for a burglar alarm system to call the monitoring company if there's a fire.
 

Mr. McMac

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Dec 21, 2009
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Are they wired to a burglar alarm system, or to a fire alarm system? It's not uncommon for a burglar alarm system to call the monitoring company if there's a fire.
Yes it's wired to the burglar alarm system which is monitored via internet and cellular with battery backups. There are heat and smoke detectors throughout the house. The alarm makes a different sound if there's a fire. Hopefully that will never happen..
 

The Doctor11

macrumors 603
Dec 15, 2013
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I don't have any false alarms like OP has. My false alarms occur when the dumb ass fire alarms acts like there's a fire when the battery dies. Which doesn't help at all because when one alarm goes off each and every one goes off instantly. And of course it only happens at 3 am because why not.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
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Boston
I don't have any false alarms like OP has. My false alarms occur when the dumb ass fire alarms acts like there's a fire when the battery dies. Which doesn't help at all because when one alarm goes off each and every one goes off instantly. And of course it only happens at 3 am because why not.
There's an easy fix for that. Change the batteries more often.
 

Tomorrow

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Mar 2, 2008
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There are alarms for kids' rooms which can be programmed to alert the child using the parent's voice. Studies have shown that kids typically respond more readily to that than a rhythmic beeping sound.

In my job we often specify alarms for hearing-impaired suites (that vibrate the bed) as well as low-frequency alarms, which supposedly are more effective at waking up people who are under the influence of sedatives (or alcohol :p ).
 

moonman239

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Mar 27, 2009
1,524
22
I don't have any false alarms like OP has. My false alarms occur when the dumb ass fire alarms acts like there's a fire when the battery dies. Which doesn't help at all because when one alarm goes off each and every one goes off instantly. And of course it only happens at 3 am because why not.
Do you hear a short beep every 30 seconds, followed by quiet? That's supposed to happen.

Also, smoke alarms have no sense of time - 3 am is when the battery's at its coolest, and if it's low enough when that happens, the voltage decreases at least to the point where the smoke alarm realizes its battery is low.
There are alarms for kids' rooms which can be programmed to alert the child using the parent's voice. Studies have shown that kids typically respond more readily to that than a rhythmic beeping sound.

In my job we often specify alarms for hearing-impaired suites (that vibrate the bed) as well as low-frequency alarms, which supposedly are more effective at waking up people who are under the influence of sedatives (or alcohol :p ).
I've heard of vocal alarms and alarms that vibrate the bed. What I'd like is an alarm that will do what you want it to. Where I live, I can hear any of the installed smoke alarms from anywhere in the house. In the daytime, I don't need a smoke alarm near me to tell me to get out, unless I'm taking a nap.

Come to think of it, I now have two additional ideas:

1) Smoke alarms that can operate on a schedule - if there's smoke and it's been detected by a smoke detector that's close enough to hear, and it's daytime, the alarm nearest me wouldn't go off. Otherwise, the alarm nearest me will go off.

2) Smoke alarms that sense when there are people in the room who are awake and alert (probably will come in the future.) If there is nobody in the room, or if everyone who's in there is alert, and a smoke detector that's close enough to hear goes off, the detector in the room will not go off.
 

adbsideload

macrumors member
Dec 18, 2014
52
0
What's one of the most annoying things that smoke alarms do? False alarms! Someone burns something in the kitchen, takes a shower, lights a birthday cake, and next thing you know...BEEEP! BEEEP! form a smoke alarm that doesn't know there's no fire.

You know what'd be great? If we could tailor our hardwired smoke detectors/alarm system so we're alerted in a more convenient, yet attention-grabbing way. Ideally, we could have individual settings for each alarm. For example, the kitchen alarm might just blink a light (or even not go off at all, since people rarely sleep next to the kitchen alarm.) Bedroom smoke alarms can then be customized according to how heavily you sleep - light sleepers might wish to wake up to a vibrating bed or a blinking light, or something.
And if the power is out, or the bulb has blown? There's a very powerful phrase that one should heed

"K.I.S.S."
 
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