The Lonely Smoke Detector
One of the most important pieces of safety equipment in your home is your lonely smoke detector. Before the advent of smart smoke and CO2 detectors, homeowners were content with the standard white disc that chirped and woke them up at night when the batteries were low. They just sat on the walls or ceilings, all by themselves, without ever getting the attention they truly deserve. So, in my efforts to get into the psyche of an old school smoke detector that many homeowners still use, I decided to interview one to help you understand how this “third wheel” in your home is currently feeling. The following is an interview I recently had with a smoke detector that wishes to remain anonymous. For the purpose of this interview, I’ll refer to him as “Smolder.”
Ox: So, there’s been a lot going on with the pandemic and all. How have you and your family been?
Smolder: We’re good. Covid-19 hasn’t really changed our working conditions much. We’ve been working from home for years. We recently adopted a new kid in 2018. His name is Nest. He looks different from the rest of us but we love him just the same.
Ox: Has it been hard adjusting to having a new child in the home?
Smolder: It has. My wife and I and our other three children have always chirped when we needed something. Nest has a pretty advanced vocabulary and seems to get more attention from the other humans in the house. Nest talks a lot. It makes us feel left out sometimes.
Ox: Is there something you can do to get more attention?
Smolder: That’s a good question. I live in a physician’s house. I know he’s pretty busy but he hasn’t spoken to me in 25 years. I used to be pale complected but my color, due to old age, has changed to a bright yellow. I was really hoping he would have noticed my illness and changed me out for a newer model to protect his family. He just walks by me everyday. My anxiety has been acting up but I get counseling from Alexa when the humans are gone.
Ox: Man, I’m really sorry to hear that. Can you speak to us in depth about your illness?
Smolder: Sure. We smoke detectors, normally acquire a disease called Bromine. This chemical was put into our bodies as a fire retardant so we’ll continue working during a fire. At around ten years, we get ill and our bodies turn yellow due to being exposed to ultraviolet light. This should be a sign that we need to be replaced but many homeowners just don’t pay attention to us.
Ox: Are you still able to function?
Smolder: No. I think my homeowner still thinks I’m working because he pushes a button and I chirp. He just doesn’t have any idea that I won’t be able to detect smoke. I can see my wife down the hall and her light has turned red. She passed away a few years ago.
Ox: I’m so sorry to hear about your wife. Is there something you would want me to share with the other humans that are currently neglecting their smoke detectors?
Smolder: Yes. Tell them we are here to help them. We can actually save their lives if we are maintained and kept in good working condition. We need our batteries changed yearly and when we turn yellow and are ten years old, we need to be buried so we can return to our dad, Smokey.
Ox: You bring up some great points. I will share this story with the world and see if we can’t bring some attention to your story. Hang in there and please, whatever you do, don’t start smoking. It was nice chatting with you.
Smolder: Thank you. You know where to find me. I’ll be hanging out in the same location until we meet again.
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