Have You Ever Had a Fire in a Home You Worked In?

Familiar Voice Wake-Up Smoke Detectors

While working one day a fire started in the oven in the home I worked in. The kitchen was open into a great room in which the toddler was taking a nap on the sofa.

When I walked into the kitchen and saw it filling with smoke I must have gasped loudly since the mother jumped out of her office yelling, “What’s wrong?” Simultaneously the smoke detector went off. I started reaching for the fire extinguisher while the mother picked up the flaming food with pot holders and ran it outside.

The dog was barking and the smoke detector was beeping (right above the toddler sleeping) and the toddler was sleeping just a few yards away from the oven, but the child never woke up.

It’s really no surprise she slept through the whole smokey event since a little child can sleep through just about anything. I have also worked at New Year’s Eve parties with more than 80 people in attendance as toddlers sleep through the party and I have also worked in homes with contractors making plenty of noise with electric saws without waking sleeping youngsters.

After that fire, when the child never woke up despite a smoke detector beeping loudly right above her, I remembered hearing about “familiar voice” wake-up smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

The battery-operated smoke detectors include a speaker system for parents to record a wake-up message and brief instructions for their child. Familiar voice smoke alarms also have directional speakers in which the parents can direct the speakers directly at their child’s sleeping area. Below are two vocal smoke detectors to choose from.

Click here for smoke alarm safety tips from the National Fire Protection Association.

Click here for fun activities for kids about fire safety.

 KidSmart Vocal Smoke Alarm

The KidSmart Vocal Smoke Alarm Detector goes beyond traditional smoke alarms that cannot readily awake a sleeping child, due to their very deep sleep patterns. The KidSmart alarm allows parents to record a “Familiar Voice” alarm such as “Steve! Wake up!” in their own voice. Personalized escape instructions helps children recall their escape plan to exit their home. the loud “familiar voice” output is 85 decibels with a directional speaker to the speaker can be aimed at the child’s bed.

SignalOne Vocal Smoke Alarm

The SignalOne Vocal Smoke Alarm allows parents to record a personalized message in their own voice, instructing children to wake up and escape safely during an emergency. The SignalOne Vocal Smoke Alarm was developed by in response to documented research showing a familiar voice consistently awakens children from deep sleep, a circumstance in which traditional smoke alarms have proven shockingly unreliable. Parents can record personalized escape instructions customized for any individual household floor plan or language with loud 85decibels output. Parents can direct the speaker directly at a child’s sleeping area to help ensure the voice alarm is heard during an emergency.


  1. I have not had this happen, but last year, I took the boys I watched to karate practice, and we had a bomb threat in the building!!

    Just another reason for nannies to be trained, and at a minimum CPRO and First Aid!

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