3 Ways Smoke Alarms Can Be More Pet Friendly



3 Ways Smoke Alarms Can Be More Pet Friendly


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Why most smoke alarms are not pet friendly


Smoke alarms save lives. There's no doubt about it. But I think the majority of smoke alarms made today are poorly designed for people who have pets, for three reasons.

1. False alarms scare the daylights out of most pets


You know the scenario. You burned some toast and the alarm goes off. As you run for the broom, the dog runs for the hills.

2. When a battery runs low, most smoke alarms trigger high frequency chirps that scare many pets.


Since most smoke alarms only have one speaker, they use that speaker for the alarm... and to let you know the battery is weak. That short chirp scares my dogs so much I spend the next 20 minutes trying to find them as they hide under the beds, in closets and behind the washing machine. It's sad.

3. When an actual fire is detected, the alarm may scare some dogs into hiding under a bed or behind furniture, making it hard to save them.


The only thing worse than a pet who is so scared of the alarm that it hidesl during a fire is the thought that the pet owner risks their own life trying to find their hiding pet. Every second counts, so looking for your pet in the dark is dangerous for you and your pet.

Here are some ideas to improve them.


I'm inspired by the fact that there is at least one company making a pet friendly alarm (Nest), but I think there is still room for improvement.

1. Low battery indicators need to use a separate speaker and a sound that is audible, but at a frequency comfortable to both humans and pets.


A blinking light along with a simple warning is all you need. Nest does this beautifully.

2. Cut down on false alarms by using a motion and light detector to determine the room conditions.


If it's still light in the room, and the motion detector determines there is activity in the room, the first alarm sound could be a simple warning telling you the alarm will sound in 20 seconds unless you wave your arms, clap your hands or say a command like "silence".

Once again, Nest has an early warning feature, but they don't use the light / motion detectors to see room conditions. I think knowing the alarm is triggered while it's daytime and while people are actively moving makes a difference.

Remember, the main purpose of a smoke alarm was to wake you and draw your attention to the fire. If it can detect that it's daylight, and that you are actually moving in the room, the alarm doesn't have to start off as loud. Under those conditions an initial warning is sufficient.


Assuming you don't respond to the early warning, a louder alarm would trigger.

3. For an actual fire, use a sound that is not as traumatic for dogs.


The key is the sound needs to be loud enough to wake a human, while not use a frequency that will cause your pets to hide. With a bit of study and testing, it shouldn't be too difficult to find a sound that humans will hear at night, yet not hurt pet ears.

As crazy as it sounds, if the ALARM SOUNDS LIKE A DOORBELL, most dogs will bark like crazy and run towards the door. That's a win-win. If the doorbell sound doesn't wake you, the dog barking will... and you won't have trouble finding the dog. She's already standing at the door.



The main purpose of the alarm is to save your life, so I'm not suggesting they make the sound too low to hear, just use a sound that they've tested with pets in mind.




, Founder

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User Icon Posted: 6/14/2016 9:31:03 PM
From: , Founder - Staten Island, NY

Yes... Get a Nest


I have the Nest smoke alarm, which is now owned by Google's parent company Alphabet.

The best thing about it is that although it has a loud alarm, it warns you with a voice first, and you can silence it with a broomstick or even an App before the louder alarm goes off.

Another benefit is that the battery lasts a lot longer and it warns you via your mobile phone when it needs to be changed, instead of chirping in the middle of the night.


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