I cut the wires – short term memory loss

Last week was a bad week for me. My brain was not working at all. It was all due to fibro fog and perimenopause fog. What happened – the fire alarm happened.

Image of fire alarm on the ceiling.
Beeping fire alarm on the ceiling.

The day before I turned 54, April 9th to be exact, the fire alarm in our son’s room starting beeping, reminding me that it was time to change the battery. This sounds easy, right? Well when your brain is not functioning  properly, this task becomes insanely difficult. First problem, it wouldn’t stop beeping! Do you have any idea how terribly irritating this is, and then you have to remove it from the ceiling, and the damn thing just beeps louder. Alright, it actually doesn’t beep louder, but now your ear is right up there while you are trying to get if off the ceiling which is no easy task.

Image of Twitter conversation on how to remove the fire alarm from the ceiling.
How to remove the fire alarm from the ceiling.

Above is an image of my Twitter conversation regarding the horrible life saving fire alarm, and I did indeed find the largest screwdriver my husband owns to rip it off the ceiling.

What happened next?

Image of fire alarm
I am going to throw the fire alarm outside because of the non-stop beeping.

So throwing it outside did not solve the problem, I could still hear the beep. I brought it back into the house, and tried to figure out what to do. Honestly I did look for batteries in the fire alarm, I turned it over and in plain sight was the opening for the batteries, but I didn’t see it (fibro fog – perimenopause fog).

I phoned my husband at work, who tried his damnest to convince me that there are batteries in this fire alarm, but I don’t believe him. For some reason I am convinced that it had its very own hard-wired mechanism making it beep. (I know now my logic was all wrong, but remember my brain was not working on all its cylinders).

So realizing my husband is no help because he won’t believe my logic, I am determined to stop the beeping anyway I can – and I figure cutting the wires is my only choice. (My husband is telling me not to cut the wires because I would be ruining a perfect almost brand-new fire alarm, I don’t listen to him).

Now I have a new problem, which wires do I cut? Yellow, blue, white? The Twitter conversation got pretty funny at this point, “don’t cut the blue!”

About to cut the wires on the fire alarm
About to cut the wires on the fire alarm

I ended up cutting three wires – the red, white, and blue. The beeping stopped. I was saved!

Note: Even though I ruined a perfectly good fire alarm, which we now have to replace, there are still four fire alarms on the second floor. A hard-wired one in the hallway, and three battery operated alarms in the other bedrooms.

39 Replies to “I cut the wires – short term memory loss”

  1. @catherine, thank you for a great, funny and poignant story! Too many people experience situations like this because smoke detectors/alarms are actually pretty complicated, and manufacturers and fire departments haven’t done the best job educating people about how to manage. I am helping a U.S. manufacturer to rectify the situation through education, and we just put up an info page I think you’ll like, with links to even more references. Please tell me if it passes the menopausal brain test! [https://www.facebook.com/USIAlarms/app_208195102528120]

    1. Thank you Chris for visiting and the compliment, my menopausal brain easily screws around with me.

      Your Facebook page is thorough. I do have one suggestion – highlight the FAQ’s and the link for placement of smoke alarms, I found both of those links very easy to understand for the layperson. Also I am in Canada, so if there was different information you could link up for us, that would be terrific. The brand name smoke detectors mentioned are also sold here. Again thanks Chris.

      1. @Catherine, you are very welcome. I have been along on my wife’s journey, so your story had me right back there! Thanks for your suggestions; I redid the FAQ and split it up into “troubleshooting” and more detailed references because I’ve learned that they are for people in very different frames of mind ;^) – and I included another of our team’s fav references, “How to Stop a Beeping Smoke Alarm” (hard to beat THAT title!). I’ll noodle on the Canuck references. To start, where have you noticed major differences? We analyze hundreds of conversations, probably thousands, and the main geo differences I’ve noted are in the codes, which make their way into product features sometimes. For example, USI Alarms has Canadian models, probably accounting for the nuances. Cheers- Chris

        1. Awesome Chris, fire/smoke alarms/detectors are so important. In province of Ontario, Canada where I am, a law was passed a few years ago, that all new homes must have a hard-wired smoke alarms (including new additions/renovations), sadly it is the older homes that seem to be the problem. Also the cost of the alarm/detector is out of reach for some people (though when compared to saving your life, there is no argument in my mind). I will definitely have a look at what major differences I see between our two countries and will drop you an email, if that is acceptable to you. Thanks again.

          1. @Catherine thank you for offering, I’ll gladly read your email! Similar regulation is happening south of the border. On a positive note for older homes, we and most other manufacturers have come out with 10-year sealed batteries, so homeowners only need to deal with alarms once/decade, at least. In the US, each state is also creating its own regulations and codes; California, true to form, is in the lead. Here are some links you might find helpful for comparison or ideas: https://pinboard.in/u:csrollyson/t:15usbird+regulation

          2. My husband and I joke frequently that we should have bought shares in batteries years ago, we would be rich by now. 10-year sealed batteries, that is fabulous, changing batteries every year is such a pain, this will definitely make life easier. Thank you for the link.

  2. Oh cripes, I never thought I’d do anything like this, but the way things are going, I could totally be in your position any day now. I don’t blame you in the slightest for having a brain crash. What a frustrating day!

  3. Grrrrrr! I really felt for you reading this. I think smoke alarms are one of the most annoying sounds in the world. I’d have done the same thing, cut all those wretched wires just to shut the bloody thing up! As for having a foggy brain, I’m so ditzy these days. After a recent shopping trip, I put the toilet paper in the fridge. Hope that despite everything, you had a lovely birthday xx

    1. They are the most annoying sounds, they are meant to be that way. Oh my toilet paper in the fridge, that is funny, you poor thing. I did have a wonderful birthday, thank you.

  4. I have been on the phone to a friend and had that very conversation around 10 years ago. He tried hiding it in the wardrobe under clothes and even that didn’t dull the noise enough 😀

  5. We’ve had incidents of the alarm going off and in that situation, I would have willingly taken a hammer to it if I knew that would make it stop!!

  6. the battery is usually accessible without removing the smoke alarm. maybe not in old models. I just replaced one, took out the battery and it stopped beeping, I put in a new battery

    1. Dear Dave, your brain is working properly, mind is clouded with fibro and perimenopause, so it didn’t matter where the heck the battery was, I wasn’t going to be able to find it. 😀

  7. First off, Happy Belated Birthday! I hope that you were able to celebrate after this incident.
    I can only imagine what this experience must have been like for you and your poor dog. I have no idea how the smoke detectors work in my home, either. Whenever they go off, I just press the reset button. Know that I have read this post, I will now get my other half to let me figure out how each of them work so if I am aver in your situation, I will know how to stop the beeping quickly. Thanks for sharing this!

    1. Thank you for commenting. If my brain had been working properly, I would have known that this was the battery operated alarm. Also, according to law in our province, new houses, or additions must have a smoke alarm that is hard wired into the house, meaning if it goes off, and it isn’t a fire, someone runs downstairs and pulls the breaker in the fuse box. Thus you best know which breaker to pull!

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