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Smoke alarms are mounted high
on the wall or ceiling - 'because that's where the smoke
and the test button (and the "hush"
button for cancelling afalse
is on the unit itself.
It would be better to have a system of interconnected
(with battery backup) with
the hush button
easy reach. Maybe above the light switch in each room -
up enough that you wouldn't hit it by mistake, but not so
that you need to stand on a chair or get a broom handle
It's possible this already exists in some homes and I
seen it - or maybe there's some reason not to do it this
Disposal of smoke alarms
Not a problem as long as they use americium instead of radium [kdf, Sep 02 2020]
Do smoke smoke alarms save lives?
[kdf, Sep 02 2020]
Kidde Smoke Alarm with remote test/hush control
[kdf, Sep 02 2020]
Smoke alarm design & power consumption.
[bs0u0155, Sep 04 2020]
||// maybe there's some reason not to do it this way. //
||Construction cost; homebuilder saves money at cost of inconvenience to homebuyer/owner.
||Could voice recognition respond to a set of hollered
commands, like "Hey you, on the ceiling! Are you alive?"
and when it shrieks at you, you can yell "OK SHUT UP!!"
||I think this is more easily achieved with a smart wi-fi enabled alarm and an app of some sort.
-8th of 7, Sep 01 2020
||Well, sure, but apart from that? Here in Michigan,
new construction requires smoke alarms to be
interconnected - so the wiring as is already in
place. Relocating the test/cutoff button shouldnt
cost prohibitive - it would just rule out mass-
market, hardware store models. The only catch I
can see is that the law also requires Wiring shall
be permanent and without a disconnecting switch
other than those required for overcurrent
protection so the test and cutoff switch would
have to be implemented in a way that they
couldnt permanently disable the system.
-tatterdemalion, Sep 01, 2020
||No thank you - even though those already exist
(Google/Nest and others sell them). The law already
hardwired power and interconnections. Adding
WiFi means even more cost (Nest units start at
$119 each) and another possible point of failure.
||//No thank you - even though those already exist
(Google/Nest sells them)// - another reason not to
use this is it will tell Google when your house is on
fire. Google will then start pushing advertising at
you targeted at people who've lost all their
possessions in a catastrophic fire.
||In Poland they construct the buildings so that when you order
the elevator to the ground floor, the building comes down.
||"... when you order the elevator to the ground floor, the
building comes down."
-pashute, Sep 02 2020
||Convenient for firefighters too, no need for a ladder truck.
||// In Poland they construct the buildings so that when you order the elevator to the ground floor, the building comes down.//
Shouldn't the building come up ?
||A pull cord might be a practical solution. You could pull it
right off and into a convenient waste bin. Except it's
radioactive waste, so disposing of them by the book would
probably cost $1000. Even in death they're irritating.
||Banning domestic smoke alarms would save lives and benefit
society as a whole.
||Modern smoke detectors usually don't present a radioactive
disposal problem (link). There are two types of
materials commonly found in smoke detectors:
|| The older models may contain a non-exempt radium-226
source that is regulated by the
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. These detectors
should not go to a solid waste
landfill but be returned to the manufacturer or disposed as
|| Newer models may contain a small americium-241
source. The combined smoke detector
and americium source are specifically exempted in the
federal regulations allowing
homeowners to dispose individual detectors in a sanitary
landfill. Large quantities, such as
those collected during a major construction renovation or
hazardous waste collection
project should not be disposed without first checking with
officials of the NRC or
Radiological Protection Program staff.
||"Banning domestic smoke alarms would save lives..."
-bs0u0155, Sep 02 2020
||Disagree. From (link): "The death rate per 1,000 reported
home fires was more than twice as high in homes that did
not have any working smoke alarms (12.3 deaths per 1,000
fires), either because no smoke alarm was present or an
alarm was present but did not operate), as it was in homes
with working smoke alarms (5.7 per 1,000 fires)."
||1: I read about an experiment that (as far as the subjects
knew) was about sleep patterns; but was actually testing
smoke alarms (which were set off at a random time of the
night). Something like (IIRC) 30% of people slept on through
2: Similarly, a guy was saved from a fire by his smoke alarm.
Not from the sound of it going off, but from the ceiling
mount melting and it (conveniently) falling on his head
while he slept. Moral: mount your smoke alarm directly over
||Hmmm... It looks like Kidde / First Alert makes (or used to
make) a smoke alarm with a remote test/hush button. I'm
only finding it on Canadian websites though, and nobody
seems to have it in stock. Not sure if I need yet another key
fob thing powered by AAA batteries though.
||//Disagree. From (link): "The death rate per 1,000
reported home fires was more than twice as high in
homes that did not have any working smoke alarms...//
||Well, here's my argument. With some numbers. The NFPA
requires a smoke alarm for every sleep room, one outisde
each sleep room, one on every level and one for the
kitchen I think. So, for me, that's 10, all interconnected
and mains powered with a 9V battery back up in each.
While messing about with a power meter, I noticed that
even with everything in the house turned off, my house
was still using 55W or so. This turned out to be the smoke
alarms, on the back they say 4W/ea, but that's within
||That level of power consumption is pretty standard at
least looking around the hardware store. So, I unplugged
one. The battery still in, it continued to work/annoy me
for well over a year on the cheapest possible 9V battery.
Those are typically ~500mAh, 15000J or so. So the mains
power supply on these things is a staggeringly poor 0.004%
||If, like code specifies, these are built into every house,
let's say it's a perfect world and all 150m US households
have 10 like me. That's an astonishing 7500 MW of
additional baseload, or 12 whole average power stations*.
||If that's true, then at 600 staff/station then 7200 people
are working just to power the alarms. Add in the people
working in oil, gas & coal extraction, some of the most
dangerous jobs. Then we have an awful lot of person-
years thrown away to save some lives, how many?
||As a quick estimate, the US has about 2500 fire-related
deaths/year. Of which large wildfires are often more than
half. Of the remainder, cooking fires are a big
component. A reasonable estimate of the sort of events
where a smoke alarm might help, i.e. at night & person
isn't intoxicated, I think is about 250.
||Even if I'm off by 10-fold on both sides of the equation
i.e. only 1 power station with 600 people working is
required to save 2500 people/year, that's still an
astonishingly poor return compared to say, just not
building houses out of tinder wrapped with Tyvek. That's
before the more difficult to quantify risks from CO2 and
other pollutants including the radiation released from
||*If they're oil/gas/coal-fired, then that means the fire
protection equipment is powered by a series of massive
||bs0u0155, your analysis is incomplete. You didnt
me what your total electric usage is, so theres no
way to tell what portion your 55 watts or so of
smoke alarms account for in your total energy
budget. Worse though - you outlined costs of
smoke alarm energy usage and suggested it might
be better to change how houses are built. But
wheres your analysis of costs, environmental
impact, etc. for fireproofing (or replacing) all
existing houses and implementing new building
standards going forward?
||Well, all analyses are incomplete. My main points are a: not
very many people die in domestic fires. b: Smoke alarms are
protective in a fraction of those cases, & c: the
implementation at the moment is so catastrophically wasteful
that's it's better to not do it.
||Stuff and nonsense. Tell me your alternatives,
what theyll and how many lives theyll save - else
catastrophically wasteful are just big words.
But in the meantime youre welcome to remove
the smoke alarms from your own place if it makes