Burglar Alarm Hysteria Or The Lack Thereof (From The Kids)…Important Lesson

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Well, this evening was eventful. Natalie now have Strep Throat (what, a minute after beating Pink Eye), so I was up at 1:30AM and 4:30AM giving her medicine so her fever doesn’t spike.

Luckily for me my 4:30AM came a few minutes early in the form of my burglar alarm BLARING TO HIGH HEAVEN.

I mean, there are fewer more upsetting things in our cushy worlds than hearing this thing go off in the middle of the night.  You are frantic. You think someone’s in the house. You’re looking to grab a weapon, protect your wife and kids. You are ready to call 9-1-1-. You are filled with a rush of adrenaline, to the point that you’re almost shaking. You run to shut the alarm and see the problem. You stub the crap out of your toe and limp over to the keypad. You shake if off. You’re psyching yourself up for a conflict. You’re bad ass. You’re a killer. You are Conan the Freaking Barbarian. You see it’s the back door and you run over. You check it out. You see it is open but it appears that it was blown open by last nights massive wind and rain gusts. You rationalize, you look around, you remember a friend came by to help your wife with something and probably didn’t close the door as tightly as you should. The alarm guy is on the phone, listening to all of this, ready to call 9-1-1 if need be. You think it’s safe, all is well, life is still good. You are shaking from the adrenaline, but you breathe a sigh of relief. Your wife is no longer manic. You turn all the outside lights on, lock up, and reset the alarm. You check on the kids.

The kids…have not BUDGED. Not one stinking inch. They could sleep through a war. Thank goodness for that. But then you realize how bizarre that is. How insane it is. The siren is ABOVE THEIR DOORS. Then you remember, kids don’t hear the pitch of the alarm. You are happy they were not shocked, but you get to thinking…man, I need one of those alarms that the kids can hear, where the mother or father record their voice telling them to get up.

Twenty-four children, 6 to 12 years old, were trained how to perform a simulated self-rescue escape procedure when they heard a smokealarm. Then each child’s mother recorded a voice alarm message,“First name! First name! Wake up! Get out of bed! Leave the room!”For each child, either the voice or tone smoke alarm was randomly selected and triggered during the first cycle of stage 4 sleep,and then the other alarm was triggered during the second cycleof stage 4 sleep. What were the results?

  • Twenty-three (96%) of the 24 subjects awakened to the parent voice alarm compared with 14(58%) to the tone alarm.
  • Twenty (83%)of the subjects in the parent voice alarm group successfully performed the escape procedure within 5 minutes of alarm onset compared with 9 (38%) in the tone alarm group.
  • The median time to awaken was 20 seconds in the voice alarm group compared with 3 minutes in the tone alarm group.
  • The median time to escape was 38 seconds in the voice alarm group compared with the maximum allowed 5 minutes in the tone alarm group.

The conclusion: The personalized parent voice smoke alarm at 100 dB successfully awakened 96% of children 6- to 12-years-old from stage 4 sleep with 83% successfully performing a simulated self-rescue escape procedure, significantly outperforming the 100-dB conventional residential tone smoke alarm. Source

As I lay my head back on the pillow and thank God that it was just a false alarm, I try my best to relax and to go back to sleep. I have to get up in a couple of hours to get my son ready for school and to give Natalie more medicine.

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