When residential smoke detectors arrived they were considered somewhat of a novelty. Not many people had smoke detectors in their home, even though they had them at the office. The novelty has changed to a requirement in a lot of areas smoke detectors are now installed in over 93% of homes.
The popularity with smoke detectors has changed the job of firefighters too.
Often the fire is in a room away from the sleeping area and the detectors alert occupants long before they would see any sign of fire. Fires in the basement, and kitchen are detected and sleeping occupants in upstairs bedrooms are alerted and given time to get out of the building.
The early alert to fire has also cut down drastically on the number of residential fires. We don’t like to see people lose their things in a fire, but we sure miss the number of structure fires we used to find. Fire protection systems, and fire prevention have had a major change on how we do business.
There are a few extra calls added by those smoke detectors. These calls aren’t quite as exciting as a structure fire, actually they are pretty annoying.
On the top of the annoying list are those calls from people that don’t remember that little chirping noise means a low battery. I guess a couple could forget the meaning of that chirp, but there aren’t that many forgetful people. It seems some people just want to talk about it with the firefighters, or maybe they need help changing the battery. It’s not a big deal you meet a lot of interesting people.
Mealtime interruptions usually mean that someone has burned their food and set off the smoke detector. We all do it but when the system is connected to an alarm watch service the fire department gets called out. Local detectors aren’t a big issue but apartment buildings, and dorm rooms are a real pain. Steam from showers and smoking also add on to the nuisance list.
Another problem with these detectors is construction dust like: floor sanding, drywall dust, or paint. We get called a lot for these types of false calls. There is really no reason for them, if you are smart enough to build a house you should be smart enough to disable an alarm system.
The benefits of smoke detectors is obviously greater than the inconvenience that they bring. They obviously save lives. Changing a battery in a smoke detector is not as exciting as rescuing someone from a fire, but if it were my house I would rather have you change my battery.