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The Vocal Smoke Alarm

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October 8, 2006

The Vocal Smoke Alarm

The Vocal Smoke Alarm

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October 9, 2006 The SignalONE Safety vocal smoke alarm is the only smoke alarm on the market that allows the appropriate caregiver to record a personalized "wake up and escape" message for their child. We wouldn’t have picked that this was such an important feature off the bat, but apparently there’s a growing body of evidence showing that children do not awaken reliably to the tones found in conventional smoke alarms and the key aspect of the vocal smoke alarm is the use of a familiar voice to awaken a child by name and urge the child to escape a burning home safely. A new study, released last week by the American Academy of Pediatrics, showed that 96 percent of children woke up to the recorded sound of their mothers voice in a median time of 20 seconds, compared to only 58 percent who woke up to conventional smoke alarm tones. We’ve seen a few good ideas in smoke alarms over the years, such as the wireless smoke alarm and the ingenious snap alarm – interestingly, none of their compelling features are mutually exclusive.

A new study, released last week by the American Academy of Pediatrics, showed that 96 percent of children woke up to the recorded sound of their mothers voice in a median time of 20 seconds, compared to only 58 percent who woke up to conventional smoke alarm tones.

More importantly, 86 percent of the children responding to their mother's recorded voice self-escaped in less than three minutes compared to only 38 percent who self-escaped in a median time of five minutes when they were exposed to the conventional alarm tones. Fire experts say the key to surviving a fire is escaping the burning house in three minutes or less. More than 40,000 children are injured in house fires in the United States each year and hundreds are killed.

In speaking of the inability of conventional smoke alarms to awaken children, Dr. Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Columbus Children's Hospital and co-author of the study, recently told The Associated Press, "Clearly, the strategy that has been tried and true and used for years ... fails miserably for children." Funding for the study came from a grant from the Ohio Department of Public Safety's Division of Emergency Medical Services and the Ohio Emergency Medical Services Board.

The SignalONE Safety vocal smoke alarm is listed by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), it has received the necessary permits and approvals from state fire marshals around the nation, and the patented technology is specifically included in the latest version of the National Fire Alarm Code.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon After Editing or Managing over 50 print publications primarily in the role of a Magazine Doctor, Mike embraced the internet full-time in 1995 and became a "start-up all-rounder" – quite a few start-ups later, he founded Gizmag in 2002. Now he can write again.   All articles by Mike Hanlon
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