Why Don’t Fire Alarms Have an Oops Button?

Freshly cooked bacon.

It was the day after thanksgiving and we had an early morning planned.  Not an early morning to go shopping.  Instead we were headed to the Logan Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  We were staying at my parents.  Dad had found some family members who didn’t have the opportunity to be baptized while they were alive, and we were going to take their grandkids to do the work on their behalf.

What better way to start the day then with freshly cooked bacon thought my mom?

A couple of days prior I had showed her how to cook it in oven to avoid standing next to grease splatter that would eventually have to get cleaned off the range.

So she put the bacon in the oven at 425 then proceeded to keep busy for the 20 minutes or so it would take to cook.  When it was time to pull it out there was enough particulate matter to set off the fire alarm.

The wonderfully nice idea of waking everyone up to the smell of bacon still happened, but instead of it starting by kindly saying the words ‘good morning, fresh bacon’ it started with the BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP,BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP of the fire alarm.

This of course is not the first time this had happened in my life.  I immediately opened doors and windows to dissipate the air.  Then I took the fire alarm off the ceiling and put it outside.  It instantly shut off.

This got me to remember an idea from a few years ago.  Why don’t fire alarms have an “oops button?”  Nearly every other alarm in our lives we have these days has a snooze button.  Why don’t fire alarms?  While there is a good argument for not having a snooze button (how long would it snooze for?  what is the snooze button go stuck?) the fact that my experience of a false alarm is not unique may be one of the reasons why so many smoke alarms are just altogether removed.  These permanent removals are likely contributors to the fact so many people might just be removing the alarms.  Alarm removals don’t help anyone.kidde-smoke-detectors-21009992-64_1000

USA TODAY Reported

In a 2016 survey by the National Fire Protection Association, nearly 47 percent of the more than 2.6 million fire department false alarm responses resulted from nuisance alarms. These stats, of course, only reflect the number of false alarms that actually prompted people to call the fire department in the first place.

If our fire alarms are nearly 50% unreliable (and that’s what’s reported) then we’re erring on the side of caution with a system that doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in its effectiveness.  So, if the numbers are poor and we’re training people to be complacent about fire alarms, then how bad could having a snooze button be?

I over cooked the bacon.  Ooops!  I press a button and everyone gets to stay asleep.

The first person to make this a reality will have my money pretty easily.

Oh, and the bacon was delicious.

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