Monday 11 June 2012

Not hearing my fire alarm

Yesterday, after getting back from an amazing weekend of bridesmaid dress shopping and hen weekend planning with SuperCathyFragileMystic and AC, I decided to try and sort my flat out a bit – after the madness of last week, general chores had fallen by the wayside.

I did things like window cleaning, hoovering the top of the door frames and testing my smoke alarm...

Now regular readers will know that the London Fire Brigade fitted my smoke alarm after I emailed them about my deafness. It's a snazzy wireless set-up that sees strobes and vibrating pads going nuts should they get the signal.

Thankfully in the 2 years since I've had it, they haven't needed to go nuts. But yesterday I dutifully hoovered it and tested it.


Well nothing visual anyway.

I took it down off the ceiling to see if it was the battery. It has a 10-year non-replaceable battery.

I got the instructions to see what it could be. All the warning signs that it's going wrong are apparently audible. So it could have been pipping its dying final notes with me completely unaware.

I coaxed it, I pressed its buttons, I put it up, I took it down, all while balancing precariously on a ladder that I don't have the greatest track record with.

I got neck ache from staring upwards willing the red light to flash. I gave it five minutes. Heck, I even considered holding a smoking match underneath it, but still nothing. Not a peep, not a flash, not a thunder of the vibrating pad. Nothing.

Worryingly, I'm not sure how long it's not been working for. And I'm not sure if it's still working as a regular beepy fire alarm while just not speaking to it's wi-fi counterparts.

For all I know, during yesterday's tests, it could have been beeping away loudly as my neighbour stuck pins in a Voodoo form of me downstairs.

What I do know is that when it comes to fire, is that I'm not taking any risks. So this morning I'm ordering another alarm –same model but with batteries so I have more things to check when it stops working instead of just looking at a sealed unit wondering what on earth to do.

Oddly, as if in sympathy, this morning my vibrating alarm clock failed to vibrate. Having only just changed the batteries in this one, I'm a bit confused as to what's caused its demise. But tonight, armed with a screwdriver (and a hammer for good measure), I'm going to investigate.

It's at times like these that I really notice my deafness. Really feel more vulnerable in my home and day-to-day life. The things I take for granted to help me wake up on time for work and save my life in a fire are crucial to my piece of mind. And when they stop working, I can't just pop to Argos and invest in a £5.99 value model. I need to order online, fork out money – I don't think it's fair to ask the fire brigade for a second free one – and wait for it to turn up.

I need to spend the next however many nights before the smoke alarm arrives hoping that my neighbour's excessive hallway hoarding doesn't cause a fire. And I need to keep my fingers crossed that my iPhone's vibrating alarm is enough to shake me from my exhausted slumber in time for my day job.

The other day I tweeted that if I had hearing for 24 hours I'd record a song safe in the knowledge that I knew how well or badly I was singing. But actually what I think I'd do is appreciate the little things in life. I'd go to bed, knowing that my £5.99 smoke alarm would beep me awake if need be, I'd lay peacefully in bed in the knowledge that whatever alarm clock I had would wake me and if anything broke it would be cheap to fix.

In the meantime, I'm off to do some internet shopping for some new vibrating, flashing things.

Man, that sounds far more exciting that it actually is, doesn't it peeps.

Have a lovely day.



Anonymous said...

Please do get all the necessary vibrating things and stay safe! Sound very odd!!!!!!!

Samantha said...

How frustrating. Did you email the London Fire Brigade to inform them of the faulty deaf fire alarm?

It's so good of you to regularly check your fire alarm, it's reminded me to check mine too!

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