Smoke Detectors Can Kiss My Ass

This is my brand of smoke detector. I hope it dies in a fire.

“Smoke detectors save lives”. So says everyone and everything on the internet. Every day, a smoke detector saves umpty-bumpty lives while simultaneously providing a much needed ornamental flair to the otherwise drab ceilings of our homes.

I hate them ever so much.

“What?!” you say, incredulous that anyone could hate a device that is personally responsible for SAVING LIVES, since SAVING LIVES is the most awesomest thing anything can ever do and all life is precious and every smoke detector disabled by yanking its goddamn 9-volt battery out makes Baby Jesus weep and all that. I get it. I’m not a huge fan of anyone… well, OK, most people… dying in a house fire.

But seriously, fuck smoke detectors.

You know what smoke detectors are good for? I’ve made a handy list, which I’ll present to the National Center on Fire Safety and Security, an organization which I think I just made up but whatever:

  1. Waking me up in the middle of the fucking night for no discernible reason
  2. Detecting that I have set the oven to any temperature above 250 degrees
  3. Alerting me to the fact that I am cooking bacon
  4. Doing all of the above with this shrill piercing fucking wail that ensures that I lose my inner ear balance and fall down the stairs when it’s 3 o’clock in the fucking morning trying to figure out if I’m about to die, which is either ironic because I’ve already died from a broken neck sustained in the fall or it’s ironic because I’ve said it’s ironic even though it isn’t and therefore the declaration of irony becomes itself ironic and therefore we get irony either way
  5. Singlehandedly keeps the 9-volt battery industry alive.

That’s it. They do jack shit otherwise.

I don’t fucking get them at all. The smoke detectors in my house go off with different beeps alternating at different intervals at different times. I have no fucking idea what these ear-splitting coded messages from the electronic equivalent of a toaster are trying to say. Sure, I could keep the manual shoved in my rectum for easy perusing when the goddamn things go off in the middle of the fucking night and decipher the different electronic beeps and whoops and learn if the battery is loose or if a fucking Towering Inferno has broken out in the corner of my basement. I presume that’s the range it covers. All I know is, the things don’t tell you shit other than OMG FIRE FIRE FIRE OR POSSIBLY DUST IN MY SENSOR OR MAYBE SMOKE OR SOMETHING, I DON’T KNOW, I COST 11 FUCKING CENTS TO MAKE SO I’M NOT EXACTLY THE MOST SOPHISTICATED PIECE OF SHITTY PLASTIC THAT’S DESIGNED TO MAKE YOU THINK THAT YOU’RE SAFE TO BRING A BOTTLE OF WHISKEY AND A CARTON OF MARLBORO REDS INTO BED.

Seriously, why can’t they just have a nice female voice come out of their little speakers, preferably with a British or Australian or Irish accent, who calmly informs me exactly what’s going on. “Alert. Alert. The battery on level 3 is dead. I’ll inform you again at 6 PM next Thursday” or “Alert. Alert. There is a fire raging on the first floor. You have approximately 40 seconds to reach minimum safe distance.” Every alert should tell you how much time you have to reach minimum safe distance, like the self-destruct sequence thing in Aliens. That’s comforting. That lets you know where you stand. It also lets you know what the fuck is going on, which I presume would be a handy thing to have a piece of fucking safety equipment do.

I bring this up because last night, I’m awoken by two things: one, a shrill and piercing alarm beeping every couple of seconds in a sequence, and two, one of my dogs walking on my face in an attempt to get underneath my pillow to escape the unholy volley of brain-shredding noise. I get up and start to figure out what the fuck is going on. I smell no smoke. I head downstairs, but before I can check to see if there are, like, lights blinking on one to let me know HEY, I’M THE SHITHEAD THAT WOKE YOU UP, the alarm stops. I look at them all anyway, from top floor to basement. I see nothing. No fire, no smoke, no bacon. Nothing. I go back to bed. For five minutes I’m on edge, waiting for the fucking thing to go off again. Then I begin to doze off because, hey, middle of the fucking night. BEEP. BEEEP BEEEP. BEEEEEEEEEEEP. Fucking things. Ten minutes after the first alarm, it goes off again. Still fucking nothing. So what do I do when a piece of legally required home safety equipment goes off in the middle of the night?

I rip every single one of them off the ceiling, take out their batteries, and toss them in the basement. Like a fucking American.

I fucking hate smoke detectors.

About Alan Edwards

An indie writer who does accounting full-time on the side.

Posted on August 1, 2012, in Rantin' and Bitchin' and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 44 Comments.

  1. In rental homes Carbon Monoxide Detectors are also mandatory now. And because of all the above reasons you listed, in our house we tear the 9V Batteries out, lose them, and frantically run to the store to buy new ones each year before the Newark Inspector comes by to check they’re all working.

  2. I missed your posts, bud. You hold the rage of 10 strong men!

    • Ha! Thanks man. I haven’t had anything to say for a little while (obvs) but a combination of annoying inspiration and a less-busy day at work for the first time in a month helped me to break my slump.

  3. Awww, now I feel bad I did not buy the smoke detectors I just saw at BJ’s Warehouse store of hugeness. They talk! With all my luck though it would have a southern accent and you would accidentally go into a homicidal rage in the middle of the night because you thought the cast of Deliverance was trying to burn our house down.

    • Hey, don’t let things like facts that there are talking smoke detectors get in the way of my ill-conceived rant!

  4. I have a new hate: single serving fruit cups! The plastic lids stick so hard that when you are trying to open them, placing a finger or two strategically to get the best leverage, you inevitably get juice squirting out like a damned fire-hose all over your clothing (like I just did.) Admittedly it was mandarin orange juice, which is okay as far as juice goes, but what the hell? For the second cup I ate with my lunch I just pulled out a fucking penknife and surgically stab the cover before removing it with the skill of a $500,000 heart surgeon. The fourth cup, which I am saving for later, better have learned its lesson or it’s going to get stabbed too before I peel back it’s plastic cover.

  5. Dude, I’d pay serious buck for a Ridley Scott-themed fire alarm narrated by Fassbender ala Prometheus.

    What, was that TMI? Whatever. And the basic ones, yeah, let’s be honest. We DO want to see some people die in house fires, no?

    I’m agreeing on the Bacon setting. I want my fire alarm to say “It’s about time you’re making bacon again. Hmm, does that smell glorious. Save some for me, sweetheart.” Or something else equally awesome. (Versus squealing like a stuck…pig.)

    Glad to have you back. 😉

    • (Yes, I do want some people to die in house fires, slowly and excruciatingly)

      It’s good to be back! Thanks for stopping by! Pardon the dust!

  6. Yes. Reasons 1-5 all true! Smoke detectors take the joy out of making bacon!

  7. You are a model American, for sure. Thanks for this awesome display of your usual wit and candor. I missed you!

  8. FYI, I just had a smoke detector go off while I was spraying on sun tan oil! Apparently, I’m not allowed to avoid burning myself in the SUN, only in FIRES. Just a note to the wise…er, stupid…

    • That makes perfect sense, of course, because, uh, hmmm. Yeah. Maybe smoke detectors WANT us to burn, which is why they go off all the time and force us to disconnect them. We’re onto them, now.

  9. Finally, someone who understands my seething hatred. Cheers to you, sir. If I hear one more fucking asshole tell me how necessary it is to have every room filled with god damn smoke alarms or how you should never take the batteries out because you are just one step away from horrible burning death the moment you shut your eyes…then I’ll set them on fire. And throw god damn smoke alarms at them while they burn. Because how else would they recognize a fire? Without an infernal bit of shrieking plastic to tell them about it, they might burn for minutes without even noticing.

    It’s time we cast off these shackles. Silence all smoke alarm propaganda. Tear out their tiny 9 volt hearts and use them for something that will bring joy to the world instead of suffering. Cook bacon in peace. If a fire breaks out while I’m asleep then I guess that’s bad luck for me and I shouldn’t have lit 37 candles, left the stove on covered in oily rags, and dozed off in my favorite and most flammable chair while spilling my alcoholic beverage all over myself and smoking an entire pack of cigarettes lit with a torch. At least I lived a full life free of mind shattering horror at every turn.

    • Your comment and the author’s article have brought me some much needed relief. I just overcooked some potatoes in the oven and have half -smashed to bits the bastarding smoke alarm in my hallway which is now chirping incessantly. It’s attached to the mains and I don’t know how to make it die.

  10. What a terrific post, and follow-up comments. UGH. Just woke up last night to my 120 GS Mix pacing back and forth and whining like he was about to have the shits at 10, 11, 12, and then 2….took him outside each time, on the off-chance he might actually have the shits. NOPE! it’s the fucking carbon monoxide detector telling me it has no battery strength left. What did I do? What every other red-blooded American would do when furious, anxious, and irritated. Took out the battery, tossed the shell into a spare bedroom, yelled at the dog to shut up, and went back to bed. Is it any wonder I woke up in a foul mood?

  11. I googled “I hate smoke detectors” because I wanted to know if anyone else shared my pain and found this. My story: my smoke detector started wailing last night. I replaced the battery multiple times, but the stupid thing kept going no matter what I tried. I gave up and pulled the battery, but dude, the thing didn’t stop! What the fuck how?? There’s no battery but it was still blasting its beeps. I guess it had a built in capacitor or something so I wrapped it in blankets, put in the bathroom, and shut the door. Do they need to make them so irritating?

  12. thank you!! I damn near went nuts today when I put new batteries into our piece of shit carbon monoxide detector and without warning it beeped an insanely loud shrill beep directly into my ear (which was close because I was putting in batteries) – my ear and entire left side of face is still throbbing 12 hours later. I fucking hate smoke detectors too.

    • Thank you for only saying the *F* word just once when it was needed and not every other sentence.

      The big industry only sees childish insults hurling out so until we can all grow up and act like an adult about this they will continue to get away with corporate greed.

      • My cursing seemed appropriate as the initial post is full of curses. I am perfectly capable of crafting academic arguments as well, but it seems like this blog is a place for people to vent frustration, not to make coherent and sophisticated arguments against corporate greed.

  13. i relate so much to this it makes me happy

  14. I agree with you on these accounts but as usual people who complain are usually like you who swear and cuss acting very non professional about it so the agencies who make these dumb laws lumps all of us negative critics together as childish insults.

    It actually is sad we are stuck with a choice between swearing insulting critics of the *Fuck You* type or greedy corporations who also don’t give a crap and want to force the government to make laws that make things more expensive for the consumer.

    Either choice is actually false and doesn’t serve a better purpose but the media has raised humanity to be that way so that’s all that is seen.

    Edit. I couldn’t read you’re article as it’s mostly filled with foul language so sorry if it offends you well actually I am not sorry as it’s all on you! You think we are the problem for not swearing enough but it’s people like you who are forcing you’re ideals on us.

    I am glad SOME users know how to say their piece without needing filters.

    • The “agencies who make these laws” are most certainly not reading random blogs about smoke detectors. Now, to be fair, I share your concern that people in general are not capable of unified, coherent action that can actually influence corporate policy. But I think this blog serves as a place for people to share their stories, not a place to organize against corporate greed. If there is a blog that is all about boycotts, protests, etc. – the kind of action that can garner the attention of lawmakers and the business elite – please let me know.

    • This might be my favorite comment of all time. Thank you.

  15. Tell me about it, I hate smoke detectors. They sit their and do nothing. Jesus, you can’t even light a candle near it. To top it all off, their radioactive. Why the hell do I need 5 of them in my home. Not until 1997 in my state were you required to have these bastards. Those & alarms are useless. I wish their was an off switch for the times you truly don’t need it.

  16. I’ve had it!!! In desperation; this is now my 4th time shmoogling the freaking internet in hope that someone, anyone can provide me with an answer as to why all 7 of my fire alarms and now it appears, the carbon minoxide ones are chirping randomly…but not only randomly, but sometimes in unison or patterns of 2 chirps – then nothing. Nothing, until it happens again. All this chirping has my dog panting, salivating and looking for a 5th of whiskey to ‘just make it all go away!’

    Soooo, they are hardwired, except for the c-minoxide ones and all have fresh 9 volt batteries and still – THE CHIRPING CONTINUES!!! I also see that the light indicator is green but also see a red flicker happening on all of them (fire alarms).

    I’m not sure what to do. I join you all in wanting to toss these M’ther fuxster’s into a heap and then commence bashing their brains out ~ followed by a generous serving of kerosene and a lit match. How’s that for starting a fire!!!!? #%&#!!

  17. You are so fucking hilarious, I got here through your post about hating Peter Jackson ( I totally agree btw). But your rants are so funny. You are someone I could see myself hanging out with, haha. I know this is an old post, but keep it up!

  18. I love this guy. This is great! Really backs up my logic on smoke detectors being the stupidest thing ever. Lol

  19. Funniest Smoke Detector blog I ever read.

  20. I am writing this at 1:42 am in the fucking morning after my piece of shit smoke alarm decided it was time for a battery change. I swear somewhere in China they are laughing their asses off.

  21. Ahhhh yes. I had to google ‘I hate smoke detectors’ just to see if anyone else out there felt the same way. I am pretty sure for every life saved, at least 1,000,000 people are traumatized by the insane beeping of a faulty alarm. I too am ready to chuck them into the basement…. Especially when they go off on a 12′ ceiling requiring a full extension ladder to rip off the ceiling.
    And when you have kids, it adds another layer of fun. Damn you smoke detectors…. Damn you.

  22. Mine has a little green light and then every so often a red blink…This is in my bedroom. Over and over wake up and am startled by this UFO in the sky. Untold number of times. It is hardwired in, as I am in an apartment. I tried to take the thing apart to tape over that flipping light, but of course that isn’t possible. If I tape on the outside, then it does not work and the creepy green light wakes me up. I also can not get to the ceiling with my little ladder. FK this thing!

  23. Lol!!! I love it!! I’m not alone!! My 87 year old mother just called me saying one of our smoke alarms is going off ( one of seven, 30 miles away at 10:00 at night ) replaced all batteries last year with the the batteries specially designed for smoke detectors, supposedly good for seven years! I have put new batteries in smoke detectors and they still chirp immediately!! Junk!! I am so sick of them I can’t stand it!!

  24. woke up this morning to incessant chirping. wife is up. two-year old is up. dogs pacing the hallway. what’s making that noise? smoke detector–dead battery. try to remove battery while half asleep (and annoyed) results in the whole unit being yanked from the drywall above. promptly smashed to bits with four (or five) hostile heel stomps. the thing is dead. back to bed.

  25. Im so glad that I read this because I thought I was the only one that DUCKING hated these god damn things. Thank you.

  26. Why do they only go off at 3am? Why do they need a mains connection AND a battery???? Why do I need 4 of them in a 3 bed house? Why when the go off do they never stop the fucking loudest beeping you have ever heard until you rip them off the ceiling.

  27. Hates Smoke Alarms

    Omg lmao I thought I was the only one who suffered from this!!! I hate these fucking things. I literally am on edge RIGHT NOW because the piece of shit went off while I was making toast, FUCKING TOAST!!! My father n law is a fucking regard and has 2 in the same fucking room so when one goes off, I’m on edge because I’m afraid the other will go off. What’s funnier is the one that is furthest from the source of smoke (should I say the lack off) goes off first!!! Piece of useless fucking shit!!! If you can’t recognize a fire in your house, then you’re fucking blind.

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