Sunday, January 09, 2011
This is not a drill... It's a fire alarm
I woke up to a fire alarm. More precisely to the fire alarm right outside my bedroom door. It wasn't so much the loud, prolonged, ear piercing beep that got me out of bed. It did wake me up. What got me out of bed was that I couldn't understand what the artificial voice from the fire device was saying. I thought I heard "blah battery blah blah".
It took about 10 times listening to the garbled message at one minute repeating intervals to make me so perplexed that I got up out of bed to investigate. It should be noted that at no point did I make out the fire alarm saying "Fire" or "carbon monoxide".
Closer I just heard a louder "blah blah blah blah". I didn't even hear the word "battery" any more, just a shrill, annoying, loud (bordering on making your ears bleed) beep and some unintelligible voice. I was still tired from the party and the bus trip ride home from Hamilton, and watching the Merlin marathon I PVRed the day before. I was up until the sun came up. I'm guessing around 7am? Being 11:00am, it meant I had about four hours of snooze time.
We had a problem like this in the apartment went I first moved in. There is a fire alarm in the downstairs basement that had a low battery and it triggered the sound system the same way. My tired brain figured I'd go out and get a replacement battery since I didn't see or smell smoke.
I got dressed, went out to the grocery store (about a 15 minute walk both ways). Bought a couple of 9 volt batteries, some eggs, some sesame seed oil and soy sauce (it was on sale). Got back home, replaced the old 9 volt battery in the fire alarm, then went back to sleep.
That was pretty much my day as I slept until about 6pm. It turns out the fire alarm was saying "Low Battery... blah blah". The "blah blah" was in French "Pile something or other". My question is this. Why can't the device have a softer voice for changing the battery? Like the Majel Barret Star Trek computer voice would be nice. "Battery levels are low, please change batteries." Do you really have to be waken up to a noise akin to a piglet caught in a blender?