Most people don’t think about whether or not they can hear their fire alarm. They may even test it to check, BUT have you had someone else turn it on when you are not wearing your aids and you are asleep? Most of us take our aids / cochlear implants off at night and it is always easier to hear a sound when you are awake, alert and expecting to hear the sound.
The type of alarms we need provide a bright flashing strobe light that is in a location where we will see it. There are also systems that have bed shakers, but for now we will cover the strobe type.
There are “wall mounted”, “ceiling mounted” and “plug in”. Some have a battery back up, but strobe alarms need to be hard wired in to your electric system. If you already have regular fire alarms hard wired into your living space, they came be replaced with strobes. This should be done by a licensed electrician to insure it meets local codes.
Some models also include carbon dioxide detectors which are a good option if you have any gas appliances. If you have a larger home it is a good idea to have the same brand through out so they can be “interconnected”. That means that a fire in the kitchen will set off all the alarms.
The “plug in” variety are usually used in temporary situations like hotel accommodation kits, single room spaces, travel trailers or RVs.
Prices vary widely for the same models. The Kidde (does not have a carbon dioxide detector) range from over $80 down to $53 on the Internet. We recommend using only sites that you trust. This is also the only model that we have found locally at Home Depot for $65. This is one of the less expensive models.
According to Consumer Reports the main manufacturers of smoke detectors and CO alarms are First Alert and Kidde, representing 3/4 of the market.
We cannot recommend or endorse a specific model or brand, but this article is meant to give you basic information regarding what is available to improve your safety.
By Lesley and Tim Bergquist