Security & Fire Protection Systems/smoke detectors


jonathan wrote at 2015-06-02 06:30:12
Kidde KN-COSM-BA Battery-Operated Combination Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Alarm with Voice Warning ( )

We live in a 4 level split home. Our gas furnace is on the lower, 3rd level. Two years ago we had several smoke alarms, but only one carbon monoxide detector on the top, bedroom level of our home. One early Saturday morning we awoke to the voice of this alarm broadcasting, "WARNING! CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTED!" over and over again. I got out of bed and took the batteries out of the unit. By then my then 16 year old daughter came out of her room and was watching me. I told her to go back to bed, but she asked me why we weren't going outside to our designated emergency spot. I thought I was being a bad example after all the years of telling the children to get our of the house if an alarm went off. I didn't think there was a problem. I assumed the unit was broken or needed a new battery. I wasn't thinking clearly. So, I put the batteries back in to see if it would go off again. It did. She again asked why we weren't following the rules and going outside, so we left the house and called 911.

When the firemen arrived I kept apologizing for calling them to our home for an obvious mistake. I thought the firemen would tell us it was a false alarm. It wasn't. The heater core had cracked and was leaking carbon monoxide. The levels were high enough to make us confused, but not yet put us to sleep. Had my daughter not watched me handle the alarm I would have gone back to sleep without ever putting the batteries back in. We were very lucky to have my daughter and this CM detector.

The voice made everything so much clearer than just a siren. If it hadn't said "carbon monoxide" I would have left the batteries out and gone back to sleep because I couldn't see any smoke or fire and I was tired. I don't think I would have thought about carbon monoxide. It was well worth every penny. I now have CM detectors on every floor of my home. This talking carbon monoxide detector helped save my families life.

I've installed installed two of these Kidde brand combination smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in my elder parents home. I have one in my own home as well and have found them all to be reliable and trouble free.

What attracted me to this model were its many features:

First, it has a low profile, attractive and unobtrusive design.

Second and perhaps most important, it has a voice speaking function that, in addition to the 85db alert horn, will speak out clear warnings: "FIRE, FIRE" or "DANGER: CARBON MONOXIDE". I think that this feature is a terrific addition toward modern life-safety technology. Indeed, you will likely see more voice warning devices in the near future.

We rely on these detectors to warn us, especially at night when we are sleeping. Awakening to this detector from a deep sleep helps orient you quickly by telling you the specific danger -- clearly and unmistakably. Notably, recent studies have shown that children can sleep through traditional smoke detector alarms, but will respond to voice warnings -- which this unit provides. Thus, placed in or near bedrooms this device can be a true lifesaver.

Another favorite feature is ease of installation. It was a breeze and truly could not be simpler. A screwdriver is all you need. A small power drill/driver would speed the process, but is not necessary. Two screws into the ceiling or wall and you are done with the mounting bracket. The detector then just clicks in to place with a clockwise flick of the wrist. This is a do-it-yourselfer's dream. It doesn't get any easier!

Battery maintenance is easy too as all you need do is turn the detector counter-clock wise a few clicks, and down it comes

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Frank Kurz


Questions relating to Burglar Alarm and Security Equipment, Fire Alarm and Extinguishment Systems, Access Control, CCTV Systems, Installation, Service, Testing, Verification


30 years installing, servicing, and testing security, access control, extinguishment, and fire alarm systems

Chair of ULC Working Groups for Fire Alarm Testing (CAN/ULC-S536) and Fire Alarm Verification (CAN/ULC-S537), Executive Director of the Fire Protection Technicians Network (

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Associate in Science; Emergency Systems (University of British Columbia); Aircraft Maintenance Technology (BCIT)

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